Snoring increases risk for cancer

May 22, 2012
Issue 5

A research team led by Dr. Javier Nieto at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has released a study showing that sleep disordered breathing (SDB) can deprive the body from oxygen and this deprivation can result in the development of cancerous tumors.

A research team led by Dr. Javier Nieto at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has released a study showing that sleep disordered breathing (SDB) can deprive the body from oxygen and this deprivation can result in the development of cancerous tumors.

Researchers looked at cancer rates in more than 1,500 people, in a study of sleep problems that has been going for 22 years. They found those with severe SDB were 4.8 times more likely to develop cancer than those who had no such problems.

Dr. Nieto said further research is needed to prove the link beyond doubt, but if the relationship was firmly established, "the diagnosis and treatment of SDB in patients with cancer might be indicated to prolong survival," said Nieto in an article published in The Telegraph.

Those with moderate SDB were at double the risk, while those with only a slight problem had a 10 percent increased chance, according to the group.

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By far the most common type of sleep disordered breathing problem is obstructive sleep apnea.

In this, the airway frequently collapses during the breathing cycle, leaving the sleeper struggling for breath. Typically this produces snoring and repeated forced waking.

Watch the full video interview to learn about the TAP oral appliance:

With a reported 70 million Americans suffering from SDB, dentists at the very least need to be screening patients for sleep disorders and working with physicians to find treatment options.

Studies have proven that oral appliance therapy is effective when treating patients with mild to moderate sleep apnea-that’s where big opportunities can arise for dentists.

According to Dr. Gary Bailey, the recent surge of sleep dentistry was brought on by rulings put down by Medicare, which state that oral appliances work and they will pay for them, but will only pay dentists to do them.

"What we call sleep dentistry is a tidal wave coming into dentistry and it has been for about a year and a half ago or so," said Bailey. "There are an estimated 70 million patients in the United States who suffer from SDB, Sleep Disordered Breathing, which includes snoring, moderate to mild sleep apnea."

According to Lou Shuman, President of Pride Institute, with proper education and training both to doctor and team, dental sleep medicine will ultimately be integrated into practice on a daily basis.