Background: Adolescents and young adults who had childhood cancer are at increased risk for insomnia, due to being critically ill during an important phase of their life for the development of good sleep habits. Insomnia is disabling and prevalent after childhood cancer (26-29%) and negatively impacts quality of life, fatigue, pain and general functioning and is often associated with other (mental) health problems. Insomnia and a history of childhood cancer both increase the risk of adverse health outcomes, posing a double burden for adolescents who had childhood cancer. The first-line treatment for insomnia is cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I). However, access to this type of care is often limited. The guided online CBT-I treatment “i-Sleep” has been developed to facilitate access via online care. i-Sleep is shown effective in adult (breast cancer) patients, but it is unknown if iCBT-I is effective in pediatric oncology. Methods/design: We developed a youth version of i-Sleep. Our aim is to evaluate its effectiveness in a national randomized-controlled clinical trial comparing iCBT-I to a waiting-list control condition at 3 and 6 months ( n =70). The intervention group will be also assessed at 12 months to see whether the post-test effects are maintained. Adolescents and young adults aged 12-30 years with insomnia, diagnosed with (childhood) cancer, currently at least 6 months since their last cancer treatment will be eligible. Outcomes include sleep efficiency (actigraphic), insomnia severity (self-report), sleep and circadian activity rhythm parameters, fatigue, health-related quality of life, perceived cognitive functioning, chronic distress, depressive- and anxiety symptoms and intervention acceptability.
Discussion: Insomnia is prevalent in the pediatric oncology population posing a double health burden for adolescents and young adults who had childhood cancer. If guided iCBT-I is effective, guidelines for insomnia can be installed to treat insomnia and potentially improve quality of life and the health of adolescents and young adults who had childhood cancer.
Trial registration: NL7220 (NTR7419; Netherlands Trial register), registered 02-August-2018