The effect of sleep disturbance on quality of life in women with ovarian cancer

Gynecol Oncol. 2011 Nov;123(2):351-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ygyno.2011.07.028.


Objective: To estimate the prevalence of sleep disturbances, and to determine if there is an association between sleep disturbances with quality of life (QOL), depression or clinical demographic variables.

Methods: Patients diagnosed with ovarian, fallopian tube or primary peritoneal cancer during the last 5years completed questionnaires regarding sleep patterns and disturbances [Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)], depression [Beck Depression inventory (BDI)], and QOL [The Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Ovarian (FACT-O), fatigue module (-F)]. Data were analyzed by Student's t-test or Pearson correlation coefficient to determine if there were differences between PSQI score with QOL, depression or clinical demographic variables.

Results: 86/275 (31% response) of patients returned the surveys. Mean age was 58.1 (SD=14.6) years and 70% had advanced disease at diagnosis. Thirty-six percent had current disease of which 81% were receiving chemotherapy. Sixty-seven percent of patients had a PSQI score≥5 corresponding to overall poor sleep quality and 46% of patients reported using sleep medication at least once during the prior month. PSQI score was significantly inversely correlated with all QOL domains (physical: r=-.599, p<.001, functional: r=-.692, p<.001, social: r=-.212, p<.001, emotional: r=-.379, p<.001, fatigue; r=-.655 p<.001) and with depression (r=.539, p<.001). PSQI was not correlated with age, time since diagnosis, number of previous chemotherapy regimens. PSQI score did not differ by current disease or chemotherapy status.

Conclusions: Sleep disturbances reduce QOL, a prognostic indicator for survival, in ovarian cancer patients. These patients should undergo routine screening and would benefit from interventions that aim to promote restful sleep.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Ovarian Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / psychology*