JMIR Form Res. 2022 Nov 24;6(11):e37371. doi: 10.2196/37371.
BACKGROUND: Sleep disorders are a common occurrence in the general population. Yet today, it is clearly agreed that sleep disorders represent both a cancer risk factor and a biological consequence of the of the activation of the immuno-inflammatory system induced by cancer itself.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to assess the impact of sleep disorders on quality of life and identify the type of disorder and its causes in order to offer an adapted and personalized care plan.
METHODS: In a survey completed during the COVID-19 lockdown, 2000 hours of interviews were collected by remote consultations. During these calls, we administered a sleep questionnaire. This questionnaire was inspired by the STOP-BANG questionnaire and enquired about 6 items. The demographic details of each patient (eg, age and sex), the nature of the pathology, their past treatments, the ongoing cancer treatment, the mood, whether or not the patient is anxious or depressed, and the use of sleeping drug pills were analyzed. A univariate analysis was performed according to the presence or absence of fatigue. Chi-square test was applied to assess possible differences of variables’ link to sleep disturbance between patients complaining of fatigue and those without fatigue. The same test was then used to analyze patients on hormone therapy and those with no hormone therapy for 2 types of cancer-breast cancer and prostate cancer.
RESULTS: A total of 905 patients were prospectively included in this study. The average age was 66.7 (5 SD) years, and 606 (67%) patients were women; 142 patients declared being overweight. Breast cancer was the most frequently reported cancer. Nocturnal awakening was reported by 70% (n=633), fatigue by 50% (n=452), difficulty falling asleep by 38% (n=343), snoring reported by an independent observer in 38% (n=343), and apnea reported by an independent observer in 9% (n=81) of the patients. The univariate analysis showed that the feeling of tiredness was significantly greater in patients reporting difficulty falling asleep (P≥.99), pain (P<.001), and frequent awakening (P<.001), as well as in patients who were not receiving cancer treatment (P<.001). The univariate analysis showed that patients who were receiving breast cancer treatment and were under hormone therapy reported difficulty falling asleep (P=.04) and pain (P=.05). In a univariate analysis of patients treated for prostate cancer, being overweight was the only factor reported that had a statistically significant value.
CONCLUSIONS: Our preliminary data support and are consistent with data in the literature regarding the importance of sleep disorders in oncology. This justifies the usefulness of a diagnosis and early treatment of sleep disorders in patients with cancer. The Rafael Institute sleep observatory will enable patients to be identified and treated.