Approximately half of cancer patients experience insomnia, and many are sleep problems that persist throughout the year.
Up to 10 percent of adults suffer from chronic insomnia and cancer patients are particularly susceptible to this, the researchers note in the edition of Sleep Medicine.
Despite the fact that sleep disorders are associated with worse consequences for cancer patients, studies to date do not give a clear picture of what the circumstances may affect the sleep problem.
For the current study, researchers examined data from 405 cancer patients in Germany who were 59 years old on average, and assessed their condition twice: at the beginning of the study and 12 months later.
The most common malignancies are breast cancer, prostate cancer or testicular, and colorectal cancer. Most patients, 83 percent were treated for cancer for the first time. The other had a relapse or secondary tumors.
At the beginning of the study, 49 percent of patients were insomnia symptoms, and 13 percent were serious enough trouble sleeping, according to Katharina Schieber, a researcher. A year later, 64 percent of patients were still suffering from the symptoms (53 percent of women and 39 percent of men). Both women and men the level of stress, depression and anxiety increased during the year.
The study was not a controlled experiment designed to prove whether the cancer cause insomnia or sleep problems may affect the results of the treatment. However, the results provide further evidence that insomnia is associated with cancer does not go away by itself.
"Insomnia can be a common cancer for several reasons - explain the researchers. - Firstly, the psychological effects of cancer diagnosis and the impact of the treatment on their own be sufficient to lead to sleep problems. But other behaviors may worsen or sleep, or increase the likelihood that a short-term or a temporary problem with a dream will become chronic and prolonged disorder known as insomnia. "
To make matters worse, the cancer patients who are worried about insomnia, threatening the results of their treatment, are prone to develop even worse state.