October is breast cancer awareness month, and there are many initiatives happening to raise awareness for this devastating disease. Breast cancer affects thousands of women in Canada every year, and chances are, you may know someone who has been affected by it. Did you know that sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, can increase your risk of developing breast cancer long-term?
The link between breast cancer and sleep apnea
Although it’s not really talked about a lot, many studies completed over the years have shown that there is indeed a connection between breast cancer and poor sleep in general, including insomnia and Obstructive Sleep Apnea. While OSA is more common among men, don’t forget that OSA still affects many women each year. And for women over age 30, the chance of developing breast cancer does increase for those with sleep apnea, especially if it is left untreated.
While this may sound scary, especially with the young age gap, it may help to know that taking steps to improve your sleep can help to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
How to lower your risk for breast cancer
If you have symptoms of sleep apnea, or if you are dealing with chronic insomnia, be sure to speak to your doctor to get the proper treatment. This is extremely important as this will help to lower your risk for a lot of long-term health problems, including cancer.
Ladies, don’t skip your regular mammograms and checkups! This can be crucial in screening for breast cancer. Completing regular breast exams at home is important as well, and if something doesn’t feel right, speak to your doctor. Early detection is easier to treat than if it is caught in the later stages.
Finally, practicing good sleep habits is very important to getting a good sleep every night, which in turn will be beneficial for staying healthy long term.