Context: Little is known about the occurrence and severity of sleep disturbance and fatigue between patients with common cancer diagnoses.
Objectives: Study purposes were to evaluate for differences in the occurrence rates of sleep disturbances and fatigue; evaluate for differences in the severity of sleep disturbance using both subjective and objective measures; and evaluate for differences in the severity of self-reported fatigue in patients with breast and prostate cancer at the initiation of radiation therapy (RT).
Methods: Patients with breast (n=78) and prostate (n=82) cancer were evaluated before the initiation of RT using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, General Sleep Disturbance Scale, Lee Fatigue Scale, and wrist actigraphy. Differences in sleep disturbance and fatigue between groups were evaluated using independent sample t-tests and Chi-square analyses.
Results: Occurrence rates for sleep disturbance (P<0.0001) and fatigue (P=0.03) were significantly higher in patients with breast compared with prostate cancer. Patients with breast cancer self-reported significantly higher levels of sleep disturbance (P=0.008) and fatigue (P=0.005) than patients with prostate cancer. However, using actigraphy, patients with prostate cancer had poorer sleep efficiency (P=0.02) than patients with breast cancer.
Conclusion: Based on self-report, patients with breast cancer experience sleep disturbance more frequently and with greater severity than patients with prostate cancer. Objective measures of sleep disturbance suggest that prostate cancer patients have more severe sleep disturbance than breast cancer patients. All the patients experienced poor sleep quality and fatigue, which suggests that oncology patients need to be assessed for these symptoms.
Copyright © 2011 U.S. Cancer Pain Relief Committee. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.