- Patients with cancer were significantly more likely to die of suicide than people without cancer, especially within the first 50 months of diagnosis.
- This risk was greatest among patients with advanced disease and those with no history of psychiatric conditions requiring emergency department visits or hospital admissions.
Why this matters
- Prior studies failed to account for the potential role of prior psychiatric diagnosis.
- 676,470 patients diagnosed with prostate, breast, colorectal, melanoma, lung, bladder, endometrial, thyroid, kidney, or oral cancer and 2,152,682 matched noncancer control patients.
- Funding: Canadian Urological Association-Canadian Urologic Oncology Group-Astellas grant; Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
- Among patients with cancer and matched control patients, the suicide rate was 8.2 and 11.4 per 1000 person-years of follow-up, respectively.
- Cancer was tied to a higher overall risk for suicidal death (HR, 1.34; 95% CI, 1.22-1.48), driven by the first 50 months (HR, 1.60; 95% CI, 1.42-1.81).
- The effect was driven by patients with no history of psychiatric care or only outpatient care, as well as those with advanced malignancies.
- Suicide risk was statistically significant in lung cancer (HR, 2.49; 95% CI, 1.98-3.13), colorectal cancer (HR, 1.58; 95% CI, 1.27-1.96), bladder cancer (HR, 1.73; 95% CI; 1.14-2.62), and oral cancer (HR, 2.55; 95% CI, 1.59-4.12).
- Retrospective study.