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Behavioural interventions can benefit cancer patients with sleep problems

Washington, Jan. 12 : A new study has revealed that cancer patients who are struggling with sleep troubles, due in part to pain or side effects of treatment, can count on two behavioural interventions for relief- cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR).


The research by Penn Medicine researchers found that while CBT-I is the gold standard of care, MBSR is an additional treatment approach that can also help improve sleep for cancer patients.

"Insomnia and disturbed sleep are significant problems that can affect approximately half of all cancer patients," study's lead author Sheila Garland, said. "If not properly addressed, sleep disturbances can negatively influence therapeutic and supportive care measures for these patients, so it's critical that clinicians can offer patients reliable, effective, and tailored interventions."

Estimates suggested that anywhere between 36 to 59 percent of patients with cancer experience disturbed sleep and insomnia symptoms during and after the completion of cancer treatment, with up to 28 percent meeting a formal diagnosis of insomnia.

When assessed three months after completing an eight-week treatment protocol, the researchers found that both CBT-I and MBSR reduced insomnia severity across each group. However, the effects in the CBT-I group occurred more rapidly whereas the MBSR group tended to show more gradual improvement over time.

Both groups significantly increased their total sleep time and reduced the amount of time it took them to fall asleep or return to sleep during the night. Both groups also experienced improvements in mood and stress-related symptoms following the interventions.

The study is published in Journal of Clinical Oncology.

--ANI (Posted on 12-01-2014)

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