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Study Finds Insomnia Common in Cancer Patients

Insomnia symptoms or syndrome found in nearly 60 percent of subjects scheduled for surgery

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Insomnia may be common in cancer patients in the months after surgical treatment, according to research published online Sept. 8 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Josee Savard, Ph.D., of the Laval University Cancer Research Center in Quebec, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 991 patients scheduled to undergo curative surgery for a first non-metastatic cancer. Patients participated in an insomnia-related interview and provided other information perioperatively and again two months later.

At the first point, the researchers found that 31 percent had symptoms of insomnia, and 28.5 percent met the criteria for insomnia syndrome, which fell to 22.2 and 26.2 percent, respectively, at the second point. Prevalence of insomnia syndrome was highest in patients with breast or gynecologic cancer. New insomnia symptoms or syndrome developed in 18.6 percent by the second point; factors associated with increased risk included female sex and an increase in anxiety symptoms.

"In summary, this study confirms the high prevalence of insomnia in cancer patients. It also provides further support of the relevance of offering a psychological intervention, in particular cognitive-behavioral therapy, which specifically targets maladaptive sleep behaviors and dysfunctional beliefs about sleep, to treat insomnia in this population, along with accumulating data supporting the efficacy of such interventions," the authors conclude.

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