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Behavioral Treatment Helps Reduce Insomnia in Cancer Survivors

Insomnia Severity Index scores improved for many cancer survivors with single sleep education session

couple in bed

TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- A stepped care approach seems beneficial for insomnia treatment among cancer survivors, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in Cancer.

Eric S. Zhou, Ph.D., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues administered STEP-1, a single sleep education session, to 51 cancer survivors with elevated Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores (≥12). Those reporting elevated scores one month later were offered a three-session, group cognitive-behavioral treatment (STEP-2) that was previously demonstrated as efficacious for insomnia.

The researchers found that ISI scores improved following STEP-1: 45 percent of patients were treatment responders (ISI score improvement of ≥6 points) and insomnia remitted in 42 percent (posttreatment ISI score <12). Remission of insomnia after STEP-1 correlated with reduced insomnia severity and shorter duration of sleep problems at baseline. Fourteen of the 30 survivors with unremitted insomnia after STEP-1 participated in STEP-2; 79 and 71 percent responded and remitted, respectively. There was a correlation for STEP-2 participation with interest in sleep treatment at baseline, but not with demographic/health-related variables. Following both STEP-1 and STEP-2, there was a significant improvement in mood.

"Universal implementation of the first step in our program is a very reasonable goal as a part of a commitment to quality survivorship care at all cancer centers," a coauthor said in a statement.

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