Sleep problems may up prostate cancer risk

Washington, May 8 (ANI): Men who have sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, have up to a twofold increased risk for prostate cancer, a new study has warned.

"Sleep problems are very common in modern society and can have adverse health consequences," Lara G. Sigurdardottir, M.D., at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik said.

"Women with sleep disruption have consistently been reported to be at an increased risk for breast cancer, but less is known about the potential role of sleep problems in prostate cancer," she said.

Previous studies have generated conflicting results for an association between sleep disruption from working night shifts and the risk for prostate cancer. Sigurdardottir and her colleagues, therefore, investigated the role of sleep in influencing prostate cancer risk.

The researchers followed 2,102 men from the prospective Age, Gene/Environment Susceptibility-Reykjavik study, which involved an established, population-based cohort of 2,425 men aged 67 to 96.

Upon enrollment into the study, the participants answered four questions about sleep disruption: whether they took medications to sleep, had trouble falling asleep, woke up during nights with difficulty going back to sleep or woke up early in the morning with difficulty going back to sleep.

Among the participants, 8.7 percent and 5.7 percent reported severe and very severe sleep problems, respectively. None of the participants had prostate cancer at study entry.

The researchers followed the participants for five years, and during this period, 6.4 percent were diagnosed with prostate cancer.

After the researchers adjusted for age, they found that compared with men who reported no problems with sleeping, the risk for prostate cancer increased proportionately with reported severity of problems falling and staying asleep, from 1.6-fold to 2.1-fold.

Further, the association was stronger for advanced prostate cancer than for overall prostate cancer, with more than a threefold increase in risk for advanced prostate cancer associated with "very severe" sleep problems.

The study is published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. (ANI)