Diagnosed with urachal cancer, an extremely rare bladder cancer, the Newton, Texas, resident has lived longer than anyone expected, even his oncologist, Arlene Siefker-Radtke, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology at MD Anderson.
Hornsby's resolve to live outweighed his prognosis, but there would be other hills to climb in this journey.
A restful sleep
On one of his inpatient visits to the hospital last year, Hornsby forgot his sleep apnea machine at home about two hours from Houston. Feeling tired and what he called "washed out," he was referred to MD Anderson's Sleep Center. It had been six or more years since his last evaluation, so he participated in a sleep study and got a new machine.
From clinical care to clinical research
Started in 2006, the Sleep Center is a four-bed laboratory available to all cancer patients. Its director, Dave Balachandran, M.D., says the center was established because 80% of cancer patients experience fatigue. "Sleep is so important for a healthy lifestyle, but it's even more important in cancer care," Balachandran says. "Ongoing research is focusing on the connection between sleep disorders and fatigue in cancer patients."
Current research data concludes:
Head and neck tumors
Up to 80% of patients with head and neck tumors have sleep apnea.
Patients with untreated sleep apnea have more post-operative complications.
Clinical trials are under way to detect sleep apnea, improve monitoring to avoid complications and improve patient safety.
Having conquered his sleep challenges with help from the Sleep Center, Hornsby now participates in a clinical trial and shifts his focus to getting well to share a few more years with his beloved wife, Dewan, and their family.