According to the findings of a recent study, it has been suggested that cancer diagnosis significantly increases the risk of suicide. According to the study which appears in the journal CANCER, there are some important points that need to be taken into consideration for the screening for suicide risk in newly diagnosed patients and ensuring that patients have access to social and emotional support. What can be an estimated risk of suicide within the year after a cancer diagnosis, a team, led by co-senior authors Hesham Hamoda, and Ahmad Alfaar, examined information on all cancer patients in the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Result (SEER) database between 2000 and 2014.
Among the 4,671,989 patients in the analysis, 1585 committed suicide within a time period of one year of their diagnosis. There was a two and a half times higher risk than what would be expected in the general population. “Awareness among providers to screen for suicide risk and refer to mental health services is important for mitigating such risk and saving lives, more importantly within the first six months after diagnosis, according to Dr. Alfaar, Moreover, family members and caregivers must be trained to provide psychological support for their ill relatives”.
The study shows, according to a cancer site, the highest increase in risk was seen following pancreatic cancer and lung cancer. The risk of suicide also increased significantly following a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, but in the risk of suicidal death did not increase significantly following breast and prostate cancer diagnoses.
“However both cancer and suicide are leading causes of death and present a major public health challenge. Our study highlights the fact that for some patients with cancer, their mortality will not be a direct result of the cancer itself, but rather because of the stress of dealing with it, culminating in suicide, said Dr. Hamoda. “This finding challenges us all to ensure that psychosocial support services are integrated early in cancer care”.