I stumbled upon a fascinating piece of research from Iceland that looked at the role of Circadian Disruption in Prostate Cancer Development. Knowing my own very poor sleeping patterns and having heard many other men with advanced prostate cancer complaining about very similar experiences it peaked my interest.
The researchers pointed out that there have been numerous studies showing that circadian disruption, which may be marked by sleep disturbances and inhibited melatonin production, is probably carcinogenic to humans. They also pointed out that there is important biological evidence that there is an association between circadian disruption and prostate cancer, but this evidence remains an under-explored field.
In response to this, a researcher examined the association between sleep and melatonin levels in its relation to prostate cancer risk and progression. They found that circadian disruption, as measured by sleep disruption and lower melatonin levels, is associated with an increased risk of developing advanced prostate cancer. The effect of circadian disruption on cancer risk, particularly prostate cancer, remains an understudied area.
These findings need to be confirmed. If they are confirmed we should launch additional research in the potential role that sleep therapies and interventions might play in prostate cancer prevention and control. Even without the additional evidence those of us who do experience sleep problems should discuss it with their doctors as this problem clearly affects our quality of life and might also have other health implications beyond prostate cancer.