-- Robert Preidt
MONDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Sleep problems and fatigue
are common among childhood cancer survivors and can impair their
attention and memory, researchers say.
The finding was based on the analysis of questionnaires
completed by 1,426 participants in the Childhood Cancer Survivor
Study, an investigation of long-term outcomes of survivors of eight
different childhood cancers who were treated between 1970 and
More than 20 percent of participants reported cognitive
impairment, such as trouble with attention and memory. The study
authors found that survivors who have sleep problems or frequent
daytime sleepiness or fatigue were three to four times more likely
to have attention and memory problems than those who said they
Childhood cancer survivors are already at increased risk for
cognitive problems due to the direct or indirect result of
treatment. These findings suggest that poor sleep and fatigue may
make these cognitive problems worse, said Kevin Krull, of St. Jude
Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.
He and his colleagues found that cognitive problems caused by
lack of sleep and fatigue are not related to the effects of brain
radiation, chemotherapy or the current age of the childhood cancer
In addition, childhood cancer survivors currently taking
antidepressants are 70 percent more likely to report memory
problems and 50 percent more likely to report attention problems,
according to the study, which was released online in advance of
publication in an upcoming print issue of the journal
"These findings suggest that improved sleep quality and reduced fatigue may help to improve attention and memory functions in survivors," Krull said in a journal news release.
The American Society of Clinical Oncology has more about
childhood cancer survivors.
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