We recommend that everyone who snores regularly should talk to their doctor about their snoring. The most likely risk related to snoring is sleep apnea, but there are many other potential causes of snoring that can be dangerous or even deadly, as one couple in Michigan recently discovered.

A woman, bothered and concerned by her husband’s snoring encouraged him to talk to his doctor, and, it turns out, the cause of his snoring was actually cancer.

A Choking Snore

Nancy Nagridge of Ann Arbor was concerned about the sound of her husband Daniel’s snoring. She described the snore as being “loud and angry,” and including “choking sometimes.” She thought he had sleep apnea and nagged him for months before he finally went to his doctor. The doctor took one look at his throat and recommended that Daniel see a specialist.

It turns out that the cause of the snoring was a rare form of cancer, called chordoma. This is one of the rarer forms of cancer, and there’s no good treatment. Daniel started seeing a specialist. In the process of diagnosis, they discovered a second tumor, on Daniel’s thyroid. The tumors were detected early enough that they could be surgically removed. But this doesn’t mean that it was easy. It took three surgeries to completely remove the tumors, followed by a long, difficult course of radiation therapy.

It is fortunate that they detected the cancer when they did. Left untreated, the cancer could have grown to attack his brain, leading to permanent damage. Or it could have grown to completely obstruct Daniel’s airway, potentially causing him to die in bed.

Unfortunately, Daniel and Nancy live with the specter of the cancer’s return. Daniel has to return for screening every three months to ensure that the cancer hasn’t returned.

Don’t Ignore Your Snore

Nancy and Daniel’s case reminds us of the crucial importance in getting your snoring checked out. Sleep apnea is a major health risk, but there are other problems related to snoring that could require attention. Cancer is a potential risk, but more likely are effects like poor sleep, increased car accident risk, and coronary artery disease.

Don’t ignore snoring. Instead, take it as a warning sign of potentially deadly consequences, and respond to it quickly. If you are looking for help with snoring in Omaha, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with a sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.