Study to Try to Help Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effect – Hot Flashes - Cone Health

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Published on September 17, 2013

Study to Try to Help Breast Cancer Treatment Side Effect – Hot Flashes

Breast cancer patients frequently have hot flashes – the kind that wake them during the night leaving them in a drenching, cold sweat. While hot flashes can happen anytime of the day, researchers at Cone Health Cancer Center think changing the type of sheets a woman sleeps on may help her deal with the dreaded night sweats resulting from cancer treatment.

Cone Health Cancer Center is enrolling 50 breast cancer patients to take part in the eight-week clinical trial. The women are being given a set of DermaTherapy bedding to sleep on. The bedding is made of an engineered fabric used in most sheets and patient gowns at Cone Health hospitals. Among its many characteristics, DermaTherapy wicks away moisture, staying dryer than conventional cotton sheets and pillowcases. Many women already use DermaTherapy for dealing with the night sweats of menopause.

“Hormone replacement therapy is a standard treatment for menopausal symptoms, but usually is not a treatment option for women with breast cancer,” says Cone Health Oncologist Dr. Peter Rubin. “While sheets won’t stop night sweats, we hope DermaTherapy will keep study participants drier, allowing them to get a better night’s sleep. And good sleep is an important part of good health.”

Very little research has been done in this area. Study participants will complete surveys to determine whether the study bedding improved the quality of sleep and general quality of life during the eight-week period. “Most people spend 6 hours to 8 hours each night in intimate contact with cotton fabrics that have changed little in the past century. It's exciting to think about what may happen when we add therapeutic properties to bedding,” Rubin adds. “For patients suffering from hot flashes and night sweats associated with cancer and cancer treatments, therapeutic bedding should be a priority.”

DermaTherapy was created by Greensboro-based textile company Precision Fabrics Group, originally to help people with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Cone Health became the first hospital in the world to use sheets, bed pads, pillowcases and patient gowns made of the material in its facilities after conducting studies showing that patients developed fewer pressure ulcers and healed faster when using the cleaner, smoother, drier material. 

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