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Behavioral Treatment Helps Reduce Insomnia in Cancer Survivors

Insomnia Severity Index scores improved for many cancer survivors with single sleep education session

TUESDAY, Sept. 24, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A stepped care approach seems beneficial for insomnia treatment among cancer survivors, according to a study published online Sept. 24 in Cancer.

Eric S. Zhou, Ph.D., from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, and colleagues administered STEP-1, a single sleep education session, to 51 cancer survivors with elevated Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) scores (≥12). Those reporting elevated scores one month later were offered a three-session, group cognitive-behavioral treatment (STEP-2) that was previously demonstrated as efficacious for insomnia.

The researchers found that ISI scores improved following STEP-1: 45 percent of patients were treatment responders (ISI score improvement of ≥6 points) and insomnia remitted in 42 percent (posttreatment ISI score <12). Remission of insomnia after STEP-1 correlated with reduced insomnia severity and shorter duration of sleep problems at baseline. Fourteen of the 30 survivors with unremitted insomnia after STEP-1 participated in STEP-2; 79 and 71 percent responded and remitted, respectively. There was a correlation for STEP-2 participation with interest in sleep treatment at baseline, but not with demographic/health-related variables. Following both STEP-1 and STEP-2, there was a significant improvement in mood.

“Universal implementation of the first step in our program is a very reasonable goal as a part of a commitment to quality survivorship care at all cancer centers,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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