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.