Episode 28: Sleep and Cancer 1

Sleep problems are very common in people with cancer, both during and after treatment. In addition to insomnia and sleep disturbance, other symptoms such as fatigue and sleep disorders such as restless legs symptoms and obstructive sleep apnea also occur. In this episode Moira and David talk with Justine Diggens, Clinical Psychologist from Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, about her experience working with people with cancer and the Can-Sleep program to address sleep-difficulties in people with cancer.

Dr Moira Junge (Health Psychologist) and Dr David Cunnington (Sleep Physician) host the monthly podcast, Sleep Talk, talking all things sleep.

Leave a review and subscribe via iTunes

Audio Timeline:

  • 00:00 – 01:16 Introduction
  • 01:16 – 04:43 What’s news in sleep?
    • World Sleep Day
    • Qantas flights Perth to London on Dreamliner
    • VicHealth research on sleep and mental health in adolescents
  • 04:43 -33:07 Theme – Sleep and Cancer
    • 04:43 – 05:34 Introduction
    • 05:34 – 15:22 Sleep difficulties in cancer
    • 15:22 -25:42 Interview – Justine Diggens – Can-Sleep program
    • 25:42 – 30:10 Fatigue in cancer
    • 30:10 – 32:27 Other sleep problems in cancer
    • 32:27 – 33:07 More information in sleep in cancer
  • 33:07 – 34:53 Clinical tip: Help people live well with cancer
  • 34:53 -39:20 Pick of the month:
    • 34:53 – 36:18 Moira – Talk Before Sleep – Book by Elizabeth Berg
    • 36:18 – 39:20 David – On Speed – Book by Nicolas Rasmussen
  • 39:20 – 41:46 What’s coming up in sleep?

Next episode: Sleep and Cancer (Part 2) 

Links mentioned in the podcast: 


Guest interviews:

Justine Diggens Justine Diggens is a clinical psychologist at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and has been working in oncology for over 12 years. Justine developed a keen interest in the role that sleep plays in the psychological well-being of cancer patients many years ago. Alongside her clinical work with patients, she has developed patient resources on sleep and presents regularly on insomnia at various patient forums. Most recently, Justine was centrally involved in the development and implementation of the Can-Sleep program. This program aims to better identify and address night-time sleep difficulties for oncology patients attending the Peter Mac, The Royal Women’s and Royal Melbourne Hospitals, through screening, self-help and group cognitive behavioural interventions.

Regular hosts:

Dr Moira JungeDr Moira Junge is a health psychologist working in the sleep field, who has considerable experience working with people with sleeping difficulties in a multidisciplinary practice using a team-based approach. Moira has consulted at Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre since 2008, and is actively involved with the Australasian Sleep Association (ASA). She has presented numerous workshops for psychologists wanting to learn more about sleep disorders, and is involved with Monash University with teaching and supervision commitments, as well as clinical involvement with the Monash University Healthy Sleep Clinic. She is one of the clinic directors at Yarraville Health Group which was established in 1998. In addition to her expertise in sleep disorders, her other areas of interest and expertise include smoking cessation, psychological adjustment to chronic illness, and grief and loss issues.

Dr David CunningtonDr David Cunnington is a sleep physician and director of Melbourne Sleep Disorders Centre, and co-founder and contributor to SleepHub. David trained in sleep medicine both in Australia and in the United States, at Harvard Medical School, and is certified as both an International Sleep Medicine Specialist and International Behavioural Sleep Medicine Specialist. David’s clinical practice covers all areas of sleep medicine and he is actively involved in training health professionals in sleep. David is a regular media commentator on sleep, both in traditional media and social media, and blogs for the Huffington Post on sleep. David’s recent research has been in the area of non-drug, psychologically-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness in managing insomnia, restless legs syndrome and other sleep disorders.

Connect with David on Twitter or Facebook.

Need more information about how you can sleep better?

At Sleephub we understand the struggle people endure with sleeping problems which is why we have created a comprehensive FAQs page with information for those seeking information about sleep disorders and potential solutions.

Check our resources or take our Sleep Wellness Quiz for a free assessment of elements that may be keeping you from a good night’s sleep.




Recommended Posts
Showing 2 comments
  • Ellen Scott

    Long time no hear podcast from you and now you come back with an interesting topic. Hope to hear the next episode.

    • Dr David Cunnington

      Thanks. Have been waiting on a few interviews, but back now and a number of episodes will come out over the next few weeks.

Tell us what you think