Lifestyle Health and Wellbeing 16 Mar 2018 Cancer patients up t ...

Cancer patients up to five times more likely to take their own life, says study

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Mar 16, 2018, 2:30 pm IST
Updated Mar 16, 2018, 2:30 pm IST
Researchers have warned that they need more support to identify and treat depression stemming from the condition.
Notably, patients with urological cancers were particularly likely to die by suicide, with rates up to five times higher. (Photo: Pixabay)
 Notably, patients with urological cancers were particularly likely to die by suicide, with rates up to five times higher. (Photo: Pixabay)

A new study now shows that cancer patients are up to five times more likely to take their own life than the general population.

Researchers have warned that they need more support to identify and treat depression stemming from the condition.

 

The study, conducted in the UK saw researchers find suicide rates across all cancer types being three times higher than in the wider public.

Notably, patients with urological cancers were particularly likely to die by suicide, with rates up to five times higher.

Urological cancers affect areas like the bladder, where treatment can lead to incontinence issues, and prostate cancers in men, which can also affect fertility, libido and lead to changes in personality.

Lead author of the study Dr Mehran Afshar of St George’s Hospital in London, while speaking to The Sun, said that there are particular issues specific to that group.

“For example, men with prostate cancer [which had the highest suicide rate] undergo treatment which can affect their bladder function, their bowel function, erectile function and libido, can result in symptoms similar to the female menopause, and entirely alter the personality, leading to relationship problems, anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder,” he explained.

Rates of serious depression in people undergoing cancer treatment are thought to be as high as 25 per cent, and some patients suffer PTSD after treatment.

The authors said it was also the first study to look at “suicidal intention” in patients, which they define as the average number of attempts per suicide death.

Dr Afshar added that it is known that people who attempt suicide are at higher risk of subsequently completing a suicide, and the ‘intent’ is far higher in cancer populations.

He said that the research confirmed a real need to address psychological issues early on in the management of those patients.

The findings are being presented at the European Association of Urology Congress in Copenhagen this week.

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