Head and neck cancer patients who reported poor sleep quality one year after diagnosis had more symptoms of chronic pain and complaints of dry mouth related to radiation treatments, according to a recent study from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Because these side effects can be controlled or modified, the study suggests that reducing these factors in head and neck cancer patients may be warranted to improve sleep hygiene and enhance quality of life. Previous U-M studies have shown that head and neck cancer patients who reported lower physical quality of life were more likely to die from their disease.
"Sleep disturbances are a common complaint in head and neck cancer patients and have been shown to decrease quality of life, decrease mental health and serve as a predictor of other complications in the treatment of the cancer. They can also negatively affect the immune system and the ability to deal with stresses of the diagnosis," says senior study author Jeffrey Terrell, M.D., professor of otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School.
The study found that a tracheotomy, depression and younger age also adversely affected sleep in patients.
"While cancer patients in general have been known to have decreased sleep quality, head and neck cancer patients may have unique issues such as facial disfigurements and side effects from treatments that can affect the mouth and throat. These problems may thereby contribute to breathing problems which can impede sleep," says study author Sonia A. Duffy, Ph.D., R.N., associate professor of nursing at the U-M School of Nursing and otolaryngology at the U-M Medical School and research scientist at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System.
The researchers surveyed 457 people at three otolaryngology clinics who had been recently diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Participants responded to questions about their physical and emotional quality of life, including pain, sleep health, eating and respiratory problems. The subjects were then surveyed again one year after diagnosis.
Among those surveyed, it was found that sleep quality did not change dramatically from the time of diagnosis to one year after treatment. But quality of sleep at both time points was worse than typical sleep scores for the average person. The researchers suggest that the relatively minor change in sleep quality one year after diagnosis may be due to symptoms and side effects from treatments such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Results of the study currently appear in the online version of the journal The Laryngoscope.
"Head and neck cancer patients have a high prevalence of pain compared to other cancer sites and pain is associated with insomnia. Pain is often correlated with depression among cancer patients, and the majority of depressed patients report some sleep disturbances," says Terrell. "Additionally, radiation therapy to treat head and neck cancer can contribute to dry mouth, which requires excessive drinking and urination throughout the night."
Based on their findings, the study authors recommend intensity-modulated radiation therapy techniques that treat head and neck cancer but avoid destroying saliva-producing glands, a practice that U-M specializes in. This method significantly reduces the severity of permanently dry mouth, which can be a significant complication of radiation to treat head and neck cancer.
The researchers also note the importance of recognizing depression during or after head and neck cancer treatment. Given the high incidence of dry mouth as a side effect of certain drugs that treat depression, doctors should carefully consider which medications may be better tolerated when treating these ailments among head and neck cancer patients.
"It's imperative for patients to work with physicians to determine a cause of the sleep disorder. This is especially important given that the targeted treatment of sleep disorders is likely to improve sleep quality and therefore improve quality of life," Duffy says.
Additional U-M authors: Andrew G. Shuman, M.D.; David L. Ronis, Ph.D.; Susan L. Garetz, M.D.; Scott A. McLean, M.D., Ph.D.; Karen E. Fowler, M.P.H.
Funding: National Institutes of Health through the University of Michigan's Head and Neck Specialized Program of Research Excellence grant
Reference: The Laryngoscope, DOI: 10.1002/lary.20924Resources:
Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München
Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan
In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport
Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...
The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.
The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...
Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...
Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".
Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...
13.02.2017 | Event News
10.02.2017 | Event News
09.02.2017 | Event News
22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
22.02.2017 | Life Sciences
22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy