Sleep and fatigue in pediatric oncology: a review of the literature

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Cancer in children has detrimental effects on sleep patterns and sleep quality, which in turn impacts on the perception of, and the ability to cope with, the emotional and physical challenges associated with both the disease and its treatment. This places an added burden on their quality of life that can last many years beyond diagnosis and treatment. In addition to the effect of the cancer itself, surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy can all contribute both short and long term to sleep disruption. Sleep disorders have also been associated with pain, fatigue, medication and hospitalisation in children suffering from cancer. This review will explore the relationship between childhood cancer and associated sleep disorders, in the acute stage of diagnosis, during treatment and in the years following. We will discuss the possible causes and the current treatment modalities used to treat sleep disorders in children with cancer, and in childhood cancer survivors. It has been estimated that the recent advances in treatment have improved the overall five year survival rate for all childhood cancers to over 80 , with some cancers achieving a near 100 cure rate such as early stage Wilms tumour. Thus, recognition and appropriate treatment of associated sleep disorders is essential to optimise long term quality of life.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)71 - 82
Number of pages12
JournalSleep Medicine Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this