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Adventures in Sleep

Cancer and Sleep Woes

Published June 26, 2014 10:10 AM by Penny Mehaffey

I was thinking about an article I saw a while back about cancer patients and the sleep disturbances and cognitive loss that they experience. I have read before that CPAP was helping to improve memory and function during the day for some patients. I have a wonderful sister-in-law, who is a breast cancer survivor. I remember talking with her about this very thing when she was going through chemo and radiation. 

She said that at times it felt like her brain was on fire. She was fortunate that she happened to live in a village where there was a major cancer research and treatment center. She received excellent care and it was very inclusive in that they treated mind, body and soul with traditional medicine and holistic therapies. 

Cancer patients have a host of sleep issues, pain, insomnia, anxiety, respiratory disturbances, hot flashes.  The article I read reported that some improvements in response to therapy and alleviation of some symptoms was achieved when CPAP was used. I totally believe this. I am a proponent of CPAP. I love mine and my husband's. I think the majority of us could benefit from a little CPAP. 

I  believe the cancer patients were being treated with behavior modification and sleep aids. But I wonder how they would respond to mild CPAP. I'm thinking about the soothing hum of the device as it gently delivers the low pressure and the rhythmic sound of their breaths as they breathe in and out. CPAP could be incorporated as part of the breathing exercises for relaxation.

posted by Penny Mehaffey
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    Adventures in Sleep
    Occupation: Sleep technicians
    Setting: Various sleep facilities
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