Breast cancer patients who had poor sleep and frequent snoring before their cancer diagnosis appear to have lower survival rates, according to new research.

The study was presented at the annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (SLEEP 2015), held in Seattle.

The study included 18,552 cancer patients whose progress was tracked in the Women’s Health Initiative study. 

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All of the women provided information about a number of aspects of their sleep prior to their cancer diagnosis, including the amount of sleep they got, whether or not they snored, and any history of insomnia.

Researchers led by Amanda Phipps, Ph.D., M.P.H., an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that women who slept six hours or less per night and were frequent snorers had more than twice the odds of a poor prognosis compared to women with neither of those factors.

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A similar finding was seen for women with lung cancer, although the effect was not as large as was seen in women with breast cancer, the study authors said.

“Our results suggest that sleep duration is important for breast cancer survival, particularly in women who snore,” Phipps said in a news release from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.


  1. Phipps, AI, et al. “Impact of Sleep Duration and Quality on Cancer Survival.” Sleep. Volume 38, 2015.