February 1, 2019 – Suicide and Cancer


Anchor lead: People with cancer may be more likely to consider suicide, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Receiving a diagnosis of cancer may cause some people to consider and then commit suicide, a recent study found, with lung cancer and pancreas cancer diagnoses the riskiest. The study also found that men were more likely to commit suicide than women, and the risk was highest in the first year following a diagnosis. William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, comments.

Nelson: I think what it illustrates is that when someone’s told, you have cancer or may begin to go through treatment and it gets very real and they’re thinking about what their life has been, what the prospects are for the future broadly, that distress, depression, demoralization are very common. What this means is that very careful attention has to be paid for people exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress and depression, to intervene and to treat them, especially now that outcomes for cancers are getting better and better we don’t want to have people to the state where they feel that the only way out is to take their own life. :33

At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.