Assessment of sleep disturbances in patients with cancer: Cross-sectional study in a radiotherapy department

Published:March 15, 2015DOI:



      To explore sleep-related problems reported by patients with cancer prior to undergoing radiotherapy, and to analyse the effect of cancer severity, history of treatment and psychosomatic symptomatology on these problems.


      A descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted. One hundred and five patients with cancer were evaluated prior to radiotherapy. The primary endpoint was the sleep problem score measured by a self-rated version of the Oviedo Sleep Questionnaire. Secondary variables were impact of pain on sleep, anxiety and asthenia.


      Patients reported important levels of insomnia and hypersomnia. Insomnia-related problems were significantly higher in patients with more-severe disease (P < 0.05), and led to higher levels of hypnotic drug intake. Prior chemotherapy was significantly associated with hypersomnia-related problems (P < 0.05). Anxiety was significantly associated with both sleep-related problems.


      Sleep problems are significant among patients with cancer prior to undergoing radiotherapy, and were found to be associated with progression of cancer, prior treatments and other psychosomatic symptoms (e.g. anxiety). Sleep problems within this context must be explored to provide adequate guidelines to palliate their effects on quality of life.


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