Breast Cancer Treatment Strategy: Get A Good Night’s Sleep, No Partying

Wednesday is the day I go to the operating room to treat breast cancer. Breast Cancer Removal and Treatment Day. Inevitably, each breast cancer patient will ask, “Doc, did you get a good night’s sleep?” Of course, I appreciate and understand their concern and try to laugh it off saying I was up all night partying and that my hands aren’t very steady…but things will be fine…don’t worry..

I walked away from one of these encounters and had a flash iUnknownn my mind about a study I read in the recent past about the relationship of sleep and breast cancer survival. I looked it up later that night and the data came from a presentation at the 2015 meeting of the Associated Sleep Professionals Society. I wonder how raucous that meeting is…

In any event, the author found that women diagnosed with breast cancer who slept habitually on average less that five hours per night before diagnosis had a 1.5 time greater chance of dying from their breast cancer. Of course, it would be nice to know that before you were diagnosed.

But it isn’t only insomniacs that need to be warned. If you are an insomniac and you snore before your diagnosis, you have a 2.0 times greater likelihood of dying from breast cancer.

987076-3x2-940x627So husbands, boyfriends, and significant others can now make new bedroom demands all in the interest of improving their partners survival from a disease she doesn’t yet have and may never contract. “But, dear, I am just  trying to help you should you develop breast cancer. So turn off the light and the television and put you CPAP machine back on.”

I don’t want to be glib, but I don’t know what to make of this data. There is probably some sound physiologic explanation for these findings, but is it very useful? I guess so. Yet, it isn’t the kind of data that is going to keep me up at night. But, I guess I am going to be paying more attention to my patients’ sleeping habits in response to their concern about mine before I operate on them.goodnight-moom-

Good night…sleep tight…don’t let the bed bugs..