Supplements During Cancer: Help or Hype?
September 14, 2011 – Laura Beil
Unlocking the Mystery of Cancer Stem Cells
September 14, 2011 – Elaine Schattner, MD
Advocates Make Cancer Their Mission
September 14, 2011 – Marc Silver
Choosing an Imaging Test
September 14, 2011 – Charlotte Huff
Do You Need a Cancer Coach?
September 14, 2011 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Coordinating Care After Cancer
September 14, 2011 – Dawn Dorsey
How to Manage Family Dynamics During Cancer
September 14, 2011 – Jane Hill
Another State Gets Chemo Parity
September 14, 2011 – Taylor Walker
Ford Led Discussion on Breast Cancer
September 14, 2011 – Lindsay Ray
Breast Cancer Drug Scores Win in Prevention
September 14, 2011 – Elizabeth Whittington
Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between
September 14, 2011 – Kathy LaTour
A Survivorship Resource Map
September 14, 2011 – Elizabeth Whittington
Q & A: Patients Want Coordinated Care
September 14, 2011 – Len Lichtenfeld, MD
San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium
September 14, 2011 – Lindsay Ray
The Meaning of Stem Cells
September 14, 2011 – Debu Tripathy, MD
Comments from Readers
September 14, 2011
Managing Cancer-Related Diarrhea
September 14, 2011 – Katy Human
Supplement Research in Cancer Lacking
September 14, 2011 – Barrie Cassileth, PhD
Pipeline
September 14, 2011 – Lindsay Ray
Remaining Faithful
September 14, 2011 – Cheryl L. Rice
Açaí Berry’s Effect on Cancer in Question
September 14, 2011 – Jason Roberson
What Caused Your Cancer?
September 14, 2011 – Staff Reports
Searching for a Cancer Coach?
September 14, 2011 – Jennifer M. Gangloff
Tell What You’re Taking
September 14, 2011 – Laura Beil
Don’t Believe Everything You Read on Supplement Labels
September 14, 2011 – Laura Beil
Understanding Clinical Trials
September 14, 2011
Checking Out a Charity
September 14, 2011 – Marc Silver
Should You “Just Do It?”
September 14, 2011 – Marc Silver
Previvors Need Expert Guidance, Close Surveillance
September 14, 2011 – Dawn Dorsey
Safety in Numbers
September 14, 2011 – Jane Hill
Flaxseed Doesn't Help With Hot Flashes
September 14, 2011 – Kathy LaTour
From Our Archives: Imaging
September 16, 2011
From Our Archives: Supplements
September 14, 2011
Vitamin D and Folate May Reduce Colon Cancer Risk
September 14, 2011 – Lena Huang
Currently Viewing
Sleep Problems Impair Childhood Cancer Survivors
September 14, 2011 – Taylor Walker
From Our Archives: Advocacy
September 14, 2011

Sleep Problems Impair Childhood Cancer Survivors

Study shows adult survivors of childhood cancer may have sleep issues that negatively affect cognitive function.

BY Taylor Walker
PUBLISHED September 14, 2011

Everyone’s heard the saying, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” While this accepted adage takes care of one medical need, new evidence suggests shifting the attention from apples to Zs.

According to a recent study led by investigators at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, adult survivors of childhood cancer who experience fatigue or trouble sleeping are three to four times more likely to encounter cognitive impairments, such as difficulty with attention, memory and the speed at which they process information, than survivors without sleep problems. These impairments can negatively affect survivors’ abilities to maintain a steady job, further their education or even their capability to live alone.

Survivors of central nervous system tumors were found to have the highest rates of cognitive impairment. Also, adult survivors on antidepressants had higher risk of memory problems and higher risk of impaired task efficiency.

Long-term childhood cancer survivors are already more susceptible to impaired neurocognitive functions due to a direct or indirect result of treatment to their central nervous systems, but this study, published online in the April 11 edition of Cancer, was the first to illustrate that difficulties sleeping could be associated with these problems. The investigators reached this conclusion by examining neurocognitive questionnaires filled out by 1,426 childhood cancer survivors and comparing the results to 384 healthy sibling controls.

This study also raises the possibility that the many psychological effects of cancer and cancer therapies are actually responsible for sleep disorders. Nevertheless, it supports further study of the beneficial effects of improving ones sleep habits, which even with this uncertainty, represents a sound prescription.

Although current treatment options leave future survivors vulnerable to similar cognitive issues, Kevin Krull, PhD, corresponding author and associate member of the St. Jude department of epidemiology and cancer control, says the team is hoping to improve survivors’ outcomes without altering successful treatment methods by focusing on sleep hygiene.

“They need to pay better attention to their sleep quality,” says Krull. “Take the time to get a good night’s sleep. In our society, that’s not always an easy thing to do. [But] if you’re at risk for some of these cognitive problems, it’s all the more important.” Need some help getting a good night’s sleep?

If you find that it takes you longer than 30 minutes to fall asleep at night, Krull suggests:

1. Exercise during the day rather than before bed.

2. Make your bedroom more inviting by keeping it dark and cool.

3. Do not read or watch TV in bed.

4. Wake up at the same time every day regardless of whether it’s a weekday or weekend.

Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the Childhood Cancers CURE discussion group.

Related Articles

1
×

Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!
×

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In