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Severity of Sleep Apnea and Related Hypoxia Tied to Cancer

Last Updated: September 15, 2022.

THURSDAY, Sept. 15, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Oxygen deprivation resulting from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with cancer, according to a study presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress 2022, held from Sept. 4 to 6 in Barcelona, Spain.

Andreas Palm, M.D., from Uppsala University in Sweden, and colleagues used data from 62,811 patients initiating continuous positive airway pressure therapy (July 2010 to March 2018), with crosslinked data from the National Cancer Registry and socioeconomic data from Statistics Sweden. The analysis included 2,093 patients with OSA and a diagnosis of cancer matched to a control group of 2,093 patients with OSA but no cancer.

The researchers found that patients with OSA and cancer had a higher apnea hypopnea index and oxygen desaturation index versus the matched OSA patients without cancer. The oxygen desaturation index was significantly higher in subgroups of OSA patients with lung cancer, prostate cancer, and malignant melanoma.

"The findings in this study highlight the need to consider untreated sleep apnea as a risk factor for cancer and for doctors to be aware of the possibility of cancer when treating patients with OSA," Palm said in a statement. "However, extending screening for cancer to all OSA patients is not justified or recommended by our study results."

Abstract No. OA2290

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