Higher risk of suicide found in young adult cancer patients
Young adults diagnosed with cancer are 60 per cent more likely to commit or attempt suicide, reveals a study published today in Annals of Oncology.
The study, which looked at 8 million Swedes aged 15 and over, revealed that suicidal behaviour was found to be 150 per cent higher in the cancer patients during the year after diagnosis in comparison to the healthy participants of the study.
The findings reveal the importance of mental care to be included in the clinical care of young cancer patients, especially for those with pre-existing psychiatric conditions or individuals with the worst prognosis.
Dr Donghao Lu, a PhD student at the Karolina Institutet in Stockholm said “Given that young people are still developing their coping strategies for stress, they may be more affected than adults when facing major adversity such as a cancer diagnosis".
“Although the absolute risk of suicidal behaviour is modest among the cancer patients, it emphasises the need to support and carefully monitor these vulnerable young people”.
Over the average follow up period of 17.4 years, more men committed suicide than women in the cancer patient group.
However, only a very small proportion of patients committed or attempted suicide immediately after diagnosis.
Researchers concluded that suicidal behaviour could be explained by the intense emotional stress that can follow a cancer diagnosis.
The findings of this study are “likely to represent just the tip of the iceberg of the mental suffering of young cancer patients”.
Dr Lu goes on to comment that “our findings have important implications for the relatives and other people involved in the healthcare of the young cancer patients”.
These findings cannot be applied to other countries outside of Sweden but it is likely that results would be similar.
Studies carried out in the USA, Australia and Japan found increased suicide rates in adult cancer patients.
Login/Register to Post Comment
Professor Michael Thick, the transplant surgeon who took on the poisoned chalice of clinical leadership at NHS…
Extremely outdated data is still being used in the fight against dementia, with problematic results.
This July, East Sussex NHS Trust misplaced a memory stick containing the personal details of 3,000 of its patients.
Britain is taking big strides in digital reforms. Yet, the NHS is falling behind. Why?
Jamie Prangnell shares his story of working with a mental health trust in developing a series of ‘game-style’…
In the UK, and more widely across Europe and the world, the realisation that people are living longer is starting…
This week the media headlines focused on the overwhelming news that diabetes cases soared by 60 per cent in the…
Collaboration holds the key to adoption of open source technology in the public sector.
In each of the last three years, BDO’s Local Government Social Media Survey has tested the appetite for…