Treating Sleep Apnea, the Next Step in Treating forms of Cancer?

As I’m hoping most of you are aware April is Daffodil month. This National campaigns put on by the Canadian Cancer Society raises funds and awareness to help those affected by cancer. It is held every April asking Canadians to think of the thousands affected by cancer each year and contribute on one way or another. In my effort to help the Canadian Cancer Society’s battle against cancer I thought I’d spread awareness and interesting article I found recently. The article, found on NewsBeat UW Health Science discusses the link between treating sleep apnea and suppressing cancer related genes.

Waking up tired after a full nights rest is common for people who experience obstructive sleep apnea. It’s no wonder though, after all it’s a lot of effort trying to rest peacefully when their airways become partially or fully blocked multiple times every hour. As the airways become blocked oxygen levels decrease as well as regular restful sleep patterns. (Someone is definitely going to be waking up extremely tired and on the wrong side of the bed).Obstructive sleep apnea can develop multiple health issues such as daytime sleepiness, elevated blood pressure and higher risk of heart and stroke problems. Among these issues are expressed cancerous genes a study done by researcher from the University of Washington, case Western Reserve and Harvard University found.

Continuous positive airway pressure, also known as CPAP, is a treatment where a small night table machine is hooked up to a hose and mask which transfers air to the patient which has been humidified and pressurized. CPAP keeps the airways open during sleep. Elizabeth hunter states “The treatment has been shown to decrease the number of breathing pauses and episodes of shallow breathing, lessen daytime sleepiness, improve control of high blood pressure, and lower the chances of heart and vascular disease, including stroke.”

Elizabeth hunter also touches on Dr. Sina Gharib’s studies of the effects of sleep apnea and CPAP at a molecular level while analyzing gene interaction and genetic data.Dr. Gharib’s Study says “many of the affected pathways were those that can play a role in abnormal cell changes and growths that can form into cancer. A majority of the genes mapping to these cancer-associated pathways became down-regulated in response to CPAP therapy. “
Unfortunately more studies still need to be done to provide solid evidence that CPAP will prevent the growth and spread of tumors but the possibilities provided for future studies is hopeful one on the battle against sleep apnea and cancer.

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