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Curr Oncol Rep. 2008 Jul;10(4):309-18.

Sleep and cancer: recent developments.

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Section of Sleep Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School, One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon, NH 03756, USA.


During the past decade, the critical role of sleep in health and disease has been underscored by research that further defines the relationship between sleep and myriad physiologic and psychological functions as well as quality of life. For many years, there was little exploration of the significance of sleep and sleep disorders in cancer patients; however, the past decade has seen a steady growth of inquiry in this area. These investigations have demonstrated the high frequency and significance of sleep disturbance as a symptom in cancer patients. They have also explored the complex interaction between sleep and other common cancer symptoms, most notably fatigue, depression, and pain, and have identified risk factors associated with the development of sleep problems in this population. Although treatment studies lag behind, reports of effective psychological and behavioral interventions for insomnia in cancer patients are increasing. Several studies are addressing pharmacotherapeutic intervention for hot flashes as a potential source of sleep disturbance. Other sleep disorders, most notably obstructive sleep apnea, also occur with some regularity in cancer patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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