HealthDay News — Patients with a cancer diagnosis have an increased risk for suicide during the first year after their diagnosis compared with the general population, with higher suicide rates for cancers with a poor prognosis, according to a study published online Jan. 7 in Cancer.

Anas M. Saad, from Ain Shams University in Cairo, and colleagues examined recent trends in suicide risk after a cancer diagnosis using data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program. A total of 4,671,989 patients diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2014 were included.

The researchers found that 1585 patients committed suicide within 1 year of their diagnosis. There was a significant increase in the risk for suicide, with an observed/expected (O/E) ratio of 2.52, and excess risk of 2.51 per 10,000 person-years. The highest increases in the O/E ratio came after diagnoses of pancreatic cancer and lung cancer (8.01 and 6.05, respectively). After a diagnosis of colorectal cancer, there was also a significant increase in the risk for suicide, with an O/E ratio of 2.08. After breast and prostate cancer diagnoses, there was no significant increase in the risk for suicidal death.

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“After the diagnosis, it is important that health care providers be vigilant in screening for suicide and ensuring that patients have access to social and emotional support,” the authors write.

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