Common Sleep Issues Associated with Cancer

Getting a restful night’s sleep is a challenge for many cancer patients. Pain from the cancer itself, fatigue and discomfort from chemotherapy, and medication side effects are just a few of the things that make sleep elusive for cancer patients. Worse, not getting enough sleep weakens the immune system and can exacerbate symptoms or negative side effects.

An increasing amount of research has found links between poor sleep and several cancers. Keep reading to learn what the latest research suggests about the connection between cancer and sleep, and how you can get better sleep if you’re undergoing cancer treatment.

Does lack of sleep cause cancer?

Regularly getting a good night’s sleep is an essential part of your overall health. While sleep itself has not been deemed a causal factor for cancers, researchers have associated certain sleep disorders with an increased risk of cancer. The three main sleep issues correlated with cancer are chronic sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, and shift work sleep disorder.

Sleep deprivation and cancer

Anyone who has missed a night’s sleep understands the reality of sleep deprivation. Lack of sleep worsens your mood, increases fatigue, and reduces your ability to concentrate. Chronic sleep deprivation (getting less than sufficient sleep over a sustained period of time, usually 7 to 8 hours for adults) is associated with:

  • Poorer memory and cognitive processing skills
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Increased irritability and higher risk for depression
  • Poorer judgment

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BREAKING NEWS: Landmark study on hospice cost savings!

Dear Hospice Advocate,

NHPCO and the Hospice Action Network have some big news to share- the publication of a new study in Health Affairs by Dr. Amy Kelley from the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Kelley’s research shows what we in the hospice world have known for years- that hospice care provides better quality care at the end of life, while saving Medicare money. This is big news for the hospice community!

HAN has set up a web page with links to the Health Affairs article, some key findings, and a press release about the study.

Hospice Advocates, 2013 is going to be an active year for hospice- a tightening federal budget and the possibility of entitlement reform will continue to drive the discourse here in Washington. This article proves the value of hospice to patients we serve, as well as our value in saving the federal government precious Medicare dollars. We encourage you to use it in all of your advocacy efforts and interactions with your elected officials. Together we can make a difference for hospice!

Dr. William Lamers Jr. dies at 80; championed modern hospice care

Elaine Woo February 19, 2012
Los Angeles Times

“I’m not sick; I’m only dying,” a friend told Dr. William Lamers Jr. The man had inoperable cancer and wanted to go home to die, but his doctor wouldn’t let him out of the hospital.

It was the early 1970s, when most people with incurable illnesses died in a hospital, in a lonely room, attended by doctors and nurses with no specialized knowledge of the dying patient’s emotional and physical needs. There was no system for caring for the dying at home.

The experience opened Lamers’ eyes to a major failing of the healthcare system.   Read full article…

Like taxes, death is certain do you know how to prepare?

April 16, 2012|Barbara Brotman
Chicago Tribune

The room was small, but the questions were huge.

What kinds of treatment would you want — or not want — if you are dying?

How do you choose someone to make medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated?

What happens if you don’t know anyone you can ask?

In a meeting room at the Frisbie Senior Center in Des Plaines, attorney Kathryn Casey was talking about how to plan for medical decisions at the end of life.

Ten men and women sat at round tables, listening intently. They were at an age where the subject was of particular interest. They considered the matter so private that they did not want their thoughts aired publicly. But they had been thinking, hard. Read full article…