Navigation Links
Pain, dry mouth may play role in sleep quality of head and neck cancer patients

ANN ARBOR, Mich. 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.


Contact: Tara Hasouris
University of Michigan Health System

Related medicine news :

1. Monmouth Vans Exclusive Dealer For New Wheelchair Safety Products
2. Avoid Becoming Social Media Roadkill: Top 5 Ways to Combat Negative Word of Mouth (Free Webinar)
3. Gladiator Custom Mouthguards Named Official Mouthguard of Hockey East and ECAC Hockey
4. Little-known mouth fluid may lead to test for gum disease
5. Allergy-Linked Mouth Breathing Spells Trouble for Kids
6. Give dirty mouths a brush
7. Mouth breathing can cause major health problems
8. 15 Free Videos, Kids Visit GarGar The Dentist, Promote Children's Oral Health Education - MouthWise Web Adventures 4 Kids.
9. Atlanta School of Sleep Medicine Offers Physician Board Review Course in October 2010
10. Sleep quality of soldiers with migraine is poor
11. REM sleep deprivation plays a role in chronic migraine
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Pain, dry mouth may play role in sleep quality of head and neck cancer patients
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... ... According to research by the National Association of Dental ... certified or obtain continuing education. To increase awareness of the lack of standards ... inform dentists that the technicians they trust could lack the skills and knowledge ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... The directory is specialized and only includes chiropractic clinics in the US. , ... and trustworthy alternative health practitioner when back pain sets in. When people are ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... experience this summer, ushering in a new era of publicly accessible automated technology. ... shuttle, will continue to offer guests an up-close look at the shuttle at ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... for Halloween festivities, the Word of Life Christian Church of Flint, MI, hosted ... featuring a giant 1.25 ton pile of candy dubbed “Candy Mountain”. , A ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... In an effort ... to access life-saving information provided directly from top experts in mesothelioma, in ... individual conferences in three major cities: Houston, San Francisco, and Chicago. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... , December 1, 2015 ... adds "Endometriosis - Pipeline Review, ... an overview on therapeutic pipeline of Endometriosis ... create effective counter strategies to gain competitive ... new targets and MOAs to produce first-in-class ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 2015 ) ... Drugs Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... addition of the "Orphan Drugs Market 2015-2019" ... Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... 2015-2019" report to their offering. ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... , Nov. 30, 2015   Royal Philips ... Implant, the industry,s first MRI guided user interface and ... of patients with MR Conditional implants, such as knee ... 2015 Radiological Society of North America Annual Meeting ... and supports diagnostic confidence of this growing patient population. ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: