A new study finds that short sleep duration and frequent snoring prior to a cancer diagnosis may impact survival, according to News Medical.

Results show that women who typically slept less than the recommended 7 hours of sleep per night and were frequent snorers in the years before their cancer diagnosis experienced a poorer cancer prognosis. The findings were especially robust for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer patients who reported sleeping 6 hours or less per night and snoring 5 or more nights per week before their diagnosis were 2 times more likely to die from breast cancer (hazard ratio = 2.14) than patients who reported sleeping 7 to 8 hours per night and rarely snored.

“We were surprised to see that snoring, especially in combination with short sleep duration, had such a strong association with cancer survival for certain cancer types,” said lead author Amanda Phipps, assistant professor in epidemiology at the University of Washington. “To our knowledge, snoring has not previously been evaluated in relation to cancer survival, but our results suggest that it could be an important consideration.”

Study results are published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.

The study group comprised 21,230 women diagnosed with a first primary invasive cancer during follow-up from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI), a longitudinal study of postmenopausal women. Participants provided information on several sleep attributes at study baseline, including sleep duration, snoring, and components of the WHI Insomnia Rating Scale. Analyses were adjusted for potential confounders such as age at enrollment, cancer site, marital status, household income, smoking, physical activity, and time lag between baseline data collection and cancer diagnosis.

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