Management of insomnia among cancer patients: A pilot study from cancer patients perspectives


Session type:

Maryam Farooqui1, Heryohana Jamulidin1
1University Technologi MARA, Pulau Pinang, Malaysia


Because of the ever complexity of cancer treatment, healthcare professionals spends very little time dealing with less dramatic issues as insomnia. Chronic insomnia if left untreated can lead to increase levels of fatigue, mood disturbances and immunosuppression, which can affect the course of disease and may affect patient’s quality of life


This was a cross sectional study where the study population was derived from cancer patients over a period of 2 months. The data was collected by a specifically designed questionnaire including questions on discussing insomnia with the health care providers and ways to cop with sleep problems.


A pool of 44 cancer patients met the inclusion criteria among them 29 patients (65%) had sleeping problem. Only 9 (31.0%) patients were reported to inform the practitioners regarding difficulties in sleeping while 4 (13.8%) were reported to give medical attention. Majority of the patients were reported to adopt non-pharmacological methods themselves such as sleeping in the dark and quite place avoiding caffeine and alcohol near to the bed time to solve their sleeping problem. Only 6 (20.7%) of them used relaxation therapy while 5 patients (17.2%) chose going to bed only when sleepy to have better sleep quality.  Around half 15 (51.7%) of the patients had a perception that insomnia is an unavoidable reason of cancer treatment.


In conclusion insomnia may be viewed as a normal reaction to cancer diagnosis and treatment and may be given lesser priority than cancer treatment itself. The findings of this pilot study suggests that doctors and clinical pharmacists dealing with cancer patients should work more closure to identify insomnia and other psychological problems in order to plan supportive care services to improve the quality of life of cancer patients.