Cancer and Suicide
Pp. 226-235 (10)
The review explores the association between completed suicide and neoplasms. Several
studies demonstrated that the risk of suicide in cancer patients is higher than that for the general
population. The risk of suicide increases with disease severity; the severity of the cancer increases the
suicide risk. The risk is highest shortly after the diagnosis has been made, but for some cancer types, the
risk remains increased for more than 5 years after diagnosis. Men have a higher suicide risk than
women. Mood disorders, pain, and poor physical functioning are important clinical correlates. Screens
for depression and suicide in people with cancer should be done after diagnosis and redone during the
first 6 months regularly, particularly in the primary-care setting. More attention to cancer patients'
psychological and care situation and public education are needed to decrease the stigma associated with
having a cancer diagnosis. Assessment and treatment of depression could improve the prognosis for
cancer patients who suffer from unrecognized depressions and in turn reduce their risk of suicide.
Suicide, cancer, pain.
Private Practice, Via Prisciano 26, 00136 – Rome, Italy