Research Study Abstract

New-onset insomnia among cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy: prevalence, risk factors, and its correlation with other symptoms

  • Published on April 23, 2019

Study objectives
Although insomnia is common among cancer patients, its prevalence remains variable, and its risk factors and correlation with other cancer-related symptoms are not fully explored in the literature. This study aims to determine the prevalence and severity of insomnia as well as risk factors and sleep-related symptom clusters in a sample of cancer patients.

A cross-sectional survey was conducted collecting data from 213 cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy (age = 53.1 ± 11.3 years, 60% female). Insomnia was measured using the Insomnia Severity Index, a sleep log, and Actigraph, while symptoms were assessed using the Memorial Symptom Assessment Scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. Quality of life was measured with the Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy—General.

Of the participants, 42.8% reported insomnia, with 31.9% of those with insomnia reporting severe insomnia. Insomnia occurrence and severity were not correlated with the participants’ characteristics, cancer-related or treatment-related factors, only with the participants’ anxiety/depression scores. Principal component analysis showed that insomnia, depression, and anxiety formed a symptom cluster (p < 0.001). There was no difference between sleep parameters measured by Actigraphy in insomnia and non-insomnia participants.

This study demonstrated that the prevalence of insomnia was high and indicated a symptom cluster of insomnia, depression, and anxiety. Therefore, interventions to reduce this symptom cluster may benefit cancer patients who are trying to manage these symptoms.


  • Huong Thi Xuan Hoang 1,2
  • Alex Molassiotis 1
  • Choi Wan Chan 1
  • Thi Huong Nguyen 3
  • Van Liep Nguyen 2


  • 1

    School of Nursing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR

  • 2

    Faculty of Nursing, Phenikaa University, Hanoi, Vietnam

  • 3

    Hanoi Medical College, Hanoi, Vietnam


Sleep and Breathing


, ,