Risk factors for sleep disturbances in patients scheduled for radiotherapy of head-and-neck cancer

Dirk Rades*, Svenja Kopelke, Tamer Soror, Tobias Bartscht, Soeren Tvilsted, Troels W. Kjaer, Steven E. Schild

*Corresponding author for this work
3 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: Many patients with head-and-neck cancer are scheduled for irradiation. This study was performed to determine the frequency of and risk factors for pre-radiotherapy sleep disturbances in these patients. Patients and Methods: A total of 103 patients with head-and-neck cancer scheduled for radiotherapy were included in this retrospective study. Eighteen characteristics were evaluated including timing of start of radiotherapy relative to COVID-19 pandemic; age; gender; Karnofsky performance score; Charlson comorbidity index; history of another malignancy; family history of malignancy; distress score; number of emotional, physical or practical problems; request for psychological support; tumor site and stage; upfront surgery; planned chemotherapy; and brachytherapy boost. Results: The frequency of pre-radiotherapy sleep disturbances was 42.7%. This was significantly associated with age ≤63 years (p=0.049), Karnofsky performance score ≤80 (p=0.002), Charlson comorbidity index ≥3 (p=0.005), history of another malignancy (p=0.012), emotional (p=0.001) or physical (p<0.001) problems, and request for psychological support (p=0.002). Conclusion: Sleep disturbances were frequent in patients assigned to radiotherapy of head-and-neck cancer. Recognizing risk factors for sleep disturbance helps identify patients requiring psychological support.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAnticancer Research
Issue number10
Pages (from-to)5065-5069
Number of pages5
Publication statusPublished - 10.2021

Research Areas and Centers

  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)
  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)


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