Journal Sleep: Advanced cancer patients have less quality sleep

June 1, 2007

Patients with stage four cancer are more prone to disturbed sleeping patterns due to factors such as pain, treatment side effects and psychological causes, according to a study published in the June 1st issue of the journal SLEEP.

The study, conducted by Kyriaki Mystakidou, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Athens, Greece, was completed by 102 patients with an average age of 62.8 years and who had stage four cancer. The subjects, who were subsequently followed for up to 10 months, were administered self-rated questionnaires, including an evaluation of one's quality of sleep, quality of life, mental and physical component, and pain.

The findings indicate a relationship between poor sleep quality and the functional performance, mental health, and pain status of cancer patients.

"The current findings could be of clinical importance, since in cancer, an initial sign of a symptom may hint the underlying cause of that symptom and, thus, indicating the need of a more effective symptom management," said Mystakidou. "Poor sleep quality must be taken into account when treating cancer patients. Clinicians must appreciate the often multifactorial nature of sleep disruptions in order to achieve a better and more efficacious treatment regimen."

Source: American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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