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The Relationship between Fatigue and Actigraphy-Derived Sleep and Rest-Activity Patterns in Cancer Survivors

Authors: Tristan Martin, Rosie Twomey, Mary E Medysky, John Temesi, S Nicole Culos-Reed, Guillaume Y Millet.

Published: 10 March 2021 - Curr Oncol.


Cancer-related fatigue can continue long after curative cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to investigate sleep and rest-activity cycles in fatigued and non-fatigued cancer survivors. We hypothesized that sleep and rest-activity cycles would be more disturbed in people experiencing clinically-relevant fatigue, and that objective measures of sleep would be associated with the severity of fatigue in cancer survivors. Cancer survivors (n = 87) completed a 14-day wrist actigraphy measurement to estimate their sleep and rest-activity cycles. Fatigue was measured using the Functional Assessment of Chronic Illness Therapy Fatigue Scale (FACIT-F). Participants were dichotomised into two groups using a previously validated score (fatigued n = 51 and non-fatigued n = 36). The participant's perception of sleep was measured using the Insomnia Severity Index (ISI). FACIT-F score was correlated with wake after sleep onset (r = -0.28; p = 0.010), sleep efficiency (r = 0.26; p = 0.016), sleep onset latency (r = -0.31; p = 0.044) and Insomnia Severity Index (ISI) score (r = -0.56; p < 0.001). The relative amplitude of the rest-activity cycles was lower in the fatigued vs. the non-fatigued group (p = 0.017; d = 0.58). After treatment for cancer, the severity of cancer-related fatigue is correlated with specific objective measures of sleep, and there is evidence of rest-activity cycle disruption in people experiencing clinically-relevant fatigue.

Keywords: actigraphy; cancer-related fatigue; insomnia; rest–activity cycle.

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