Sleep problems may increase men's risk for prostate cancer,
a new study suggests.
"Prostate cancer is one of the leading public health
concerns for men, and sleep problems are quite common," said study author
Dr Lara Sigurdardottir, of the University of Iceland in Reykjavik. "If our
results are confirmed with further studies, sleep may become a potential target
for intervention to reduce the risk for prostate cancer."
How the study was done
Her study included about 2 100 men, aged 67 to 96, in
Iceland. They were asked if they took medications to help them sleep, had
trouble falling asleep or woke up during nights or early in the morning and had
difficulty going back to sleep.
The researchers found that 14.4% of the men had severe or
very severe sleep problems.
None of the men had prostate cancer at the start of the
study. During five years of follow-up, 6.4% were diagnosed with prostate
cancer, according to the study.
After adjusting for age, the researchers concluded that men
with sleep problems were 1.6 to 2.1 times more likely to develop prostate
cancer than those without sleep problems. Risk increased with the severity of
The association was stronger for advanced prostate cancer
than for overall prostate cancer. Those with very severe sleep problems had a
more than threefold increased risk of advanced prostate cancer, the researchers
"Sleep problems are very common in modern society and
can have adverse health consequences," Sigurdardottir said in a journal
"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 these findings need to be confirmed in a larger and
Although the study found a potential association between
sleep problems and prostate cancer, it did not prove a cause-and-effect
The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.