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Sleep and Cancer 

Sleep and Cancer
Chapter:
Sleep and Cancer
Source:
Psycho-Oncology (3 ed.)
Author(s):

Amy E. Lowery

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199363315.003.0030

Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, circadian rhythm disruption, and insomnia, are common among cancer patients and occur at a much higher rate than in the general population. Insomnia in the context of cancer is likely multifactorial, with predisposing, precipitating, and perpetuating factors contributing to a chronic course. Untreated sleep disturbances can have serious psychological, physical, and financial consequences. Ideally, sleep should be included in the symptoms routinely assessed throughout patient care and into survivorship, with a more detailed evaluation of patients who endorse trouble with their sleep. Pharmacological interventions are most commonly used, and may be effective with short-term use, but have associated risks. Effective evidence-based treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, can treat and prevent a worsening of insomnia when it is recognized early. Unfortunately, insomnia in cancer patients is frequently undiagnosed and untreated, likely due to numerous barriers at the patient, provider, and healthcare system level.

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