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Cancer Patients' Sleep Issues Linked to Smoking, Anxiety

Forty-two percent of lung cancer patients continue to smoke during treatment

TUESDAY, Jan. 11 (HealthDay News) -- Lung cancer patients should be assessed for sleep disturbances, anxiety, smoking, and alcohol consumption, according to a study published in the January issue of Journal of Addictions Nursing.

Grace E. Dean, Ph.D., R.N., from the University of Buffalo, N.Y. and colleagues investigated the rates of smoking and alcohol consumption in lung cancer patients and their relationship to anxiety and insomnia. The team evaluated data from 50 patients with lung cancer who had undergone one cycle of chemotherapy. Duration and quality of sleep, alcohol consumption, and cigarette use were evaluated according to the Sleep Score Questionnaire and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Anxiety was measured according to the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS).

The investigators found that 77 percent of patients complained of poor sleep quality. Twenty-five percent of the patients had HADS scores indicating referable anxiety. Forty-two percent of the patients smoked during cancer treatment, and those who smoked tended to suffer less anxiety (P = 0.103). Few patients reported alcohol use, and the authors found no correlation between anxiety and alcohol use, or between alcohol intake and sleep efficiency or latency.

"This sample illustrates the importance of assessing for alcohol use, current smoking and sleep disturbances in these medically compromised individuals. Interventions should be targeted to address sleep disturbances as well as promote abstinence from alcohol and smoking cessation," the authors write.

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