BACKGROUND: Head and neck cancer (HNC) patients often suffer from distress attributed to their cancer diagnosis which may disturb their sleep. However, there is lack of research about poor sleep quality among newly diagnosed HNC patients. Therefore, our aim was to investigate the prevalence and the associated factors of poor sleep quality among HNC patients before starting treatment.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: A cross-sectional study was conducted using the baseline data from NET-QUBIC study, an ongoing multi-center cohort of HNC patients in the Netherlands. Poor sleep quality was defined as a Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) total score of > 5. Risk factors examined were sociodemographic factors (age, sex, education level, living situation), clinical characteristics (HNC subsite, tumor stage, comorbidity, performance status), lifestyle factors, coping styles, and HNC symptoms.
RESULTS: Among 560 HNC patients, 246 (44%) had poor sleep quality before start of treatment. Several factors were found to be significantly associated with poor sleep: younger age (odds ratio [OR] for each additional year 0.98, 95% CI 0.96-1.00), being female (OR 2.6, 95% CI 1.7-4.1), higher passive coping style (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.09-1.28), more oral pain (OR 1.10, 95% CI 1.01-1.19), and less sexual interest and enjoyment (OR 1.13, 95% CI 1.06-1.20).
CONCLUSION: Poor sleep quality is highly prevalent among HNC patients before start of treatment. Early evaluation and tailored intervention to improve sleep quality are necessary to prepare these patients for HNC treatment and its consequences.