Snoring isn’t just annoying to people within earshot, it can also be dangerous.

Research finds people with sleep apnea, which often causes snoring, could be five times more likely to develop cancer.

Sleep apnea is thought to affect about 28 million Americans. Its primary symptoms are snoring and dangerous pauses in breathing at night, and scientists now think that since both lower blood oxygen levels, they can trigger angiogenesis — the growth of blood vessels that feed tumors.

Several studies shore up that theory, and one in particular found that even after typical cancer risks like smoking and obesity were excluded, people with moderate apnea died of cancer twice as often as individuals without the disorder, and people in the severe category died 4.8 times more.

Dr. Joseph Golish, a professor of sleep medicine with the MetroHealth System in Cleveland, called the revelations “really big news” and said they provided “one more reason to get your apnea treated or to get it diagnosed if you think you might have it.”

[The New York Times]