Cancer victims more prone to commit suicide, study says

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A new study conducted by researchers at the Penn State Cancer University in Pennsylvania has found that cancer victims are more prone to commit suicide when compared to people with normal health status. The research report revealed that cancer patients four times more likely to commit suicide, and the study team believes that this high rate is undoubtedly alarming.

In the study report, researchers noted that lots of improvement has been made in the treatment of cancer but until now, no intense research has been put on determining the mental agony through which cancer patients are going on.

The study report published in the Nature Communications Journal revealed that being the victim of a deadly illness usually affects the victims psychologically, and as a result, they tend to take that extreme step to end their lives.

"Even though cancer is one of the leading causes of death, most cancer patients do not die from cancer, the patients usually die of another cause. There are multiple competing risks for death, and one of them is suicide. Distress and depression can arise from cancer diagnosis, treatment, financial stress, and other causes. Ultimately, distress and depression may lead to suicide. Our goal was to quantify the risk of suicide among cancer patients," said Nicholas Zaorsky, a radiation oncologist at the Penn State Cancer University, reports.

During the study, researchers tried to analyze the suicide tendency of eight million people who are diagnosed with cancer and those without. Researchers found that young men who were identified with lung, neck and colon cancer are more likely to commit suicide when compared to normal people with no deadly diseases.

Even though the suicide risk drastically reduces after five years of diagnosis, the risk remains high for people with testicular cancer.

"Treatments for some cancers — like leukemia and testicular cancer among adolescents and young adults, for example — can decrease a patient's fertility, and that seems to be one of the risks for suicide in the long term. In contrast, elderly patients who are diagnosed with lung, prostate and head and neck cancers, are at an increased risk of suicide for the remainder of their life, added Zaorsky.