Evaluation of sleep disorders in cancer patients – a cross-sectional study in south-eastern Romania

Dr. Valentina-Fineta Chiriac 1,3, Prof. univ. dr. Daniela Moșoiu2,3

1Spitalul Județean de Urgență Călărași, România, 2Universitatea Transilvania Facultatea de Medicină, Director pentru Educație și Dezvoltare Națională HOSPICE Casa Speranței, Brașov, România, 3Oncologie medicală

Primit: 14.06.2022 • Acceptat pentru publicare: 30.06.2022


Context: Insomnia has a high prevalence in cancer patients and affects negatively the physical and mental functioning of this category of patients.

Objectives: The main purpose of this paper is to assess the prevalence of sleep disorders and their impact on quality of life in cancer patients, in an oncology department from south-eastern (SE) Romania.

Methods: The present study is a cross-sectional, observational study including histopathological verified cancer patients from a single centre.  Participants were asked to complete The Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Questionnaire, Insomnia Severity Index, Epworth Sleepiness Scale and the EORTC C-30 questionnaire. Personal, clinical and laboratory data were also collected.

Results: Between February-June 2020, 43 questionnaires were completed and analysed. Poor quality sleep, estimated by the score of the PSQI, was observed in 27 (62,79%) of the participants. A statistically significant, negative correlation between global health status and both sleep quality (p=0.002) and insomnia severity index (p=,000) was obtained. Considering risk factors, lack of professional activity (p=0,014) and personal history of insomnia (p=0,02) had statistical significance. As a marker of inflammation, LDH value was in direct correlation with sleep quality.

Conclusions: Poor sleep quality is a problem in cancer patients, as we determined a high prevalence rate of insomnia at more than 60%. Knowledge of the ‘epidemiology’ of sleep disorders among cancer patients helps in the development of guidelines in this co-pathology. Sleep knowledge in people with cancer involves teamwork between patients, doctors, nurses and researchers.

Key Message: This cross sectional study investigates the prevalence of sleep quality in cancer patients. It also tries to identify risk factors and to assess the impact of sleep impairment on the quality of life. The results indicate that poor sleep quality is a prevalent problem in cancer patients, with major impact on quality of life. History of insomnia and lack of professional activity seem to possess a significant risk in developing sleep problems.

 Keywords: cancer, insomnia, prevalence, risk factors, quality of life

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