China News Service, Beijing, March 29 (Reporter Sun Zifa) Springer Nature's professional academic journal "Nature-Medicine" recently published two cancer research papers pointing out that cancer patients diagnosed with mental illness have a higher death rate rate and a higher risk of self-harm compared with other cancer patients.
Studies have found that cancer patients are nearly twice as likely to die from suicide as the general population.
These findings are based on the largest population-based analysis to date of the total burden of mental illness and self-harm events in major adult cancers.
According to reports, despite decades of advances in cancer therapy and prognosis, cancer patients still have a high risk of suicide.
However, the impact of mental health on suicide and survival outcomes is unclear, largely because of the lack of studies with sufficiently large samples to show such effects.
In one of the papers, Alvina Lai and Wai Hoong Chang of UCL, UK, analysed population-based data from two large electronic health record databases, covering a period of nearly 23 years, to investigate 26 cancer types (in 459,542 people aged 18 and over). examples of mental illness and self-harm in adults).
They found that depression was the most common psychiatric disorder among cancer patients and the highest cumulative burden of psychiatric disorders associated with chemotherapy, radiation therapy, surgery and alkylating agents (used for specific cancer treatments) and testicular cancer.
Psychiatric disorders (eg, depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders) were associated with an increased risk of death of any type and with an increased risk of self-harm within 12 months of psychiatric diagnosis.
In a separate study for a separate paper, Corinna Seliger and colleagues at Heidelberg University Hospital in Germany conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 62 studies (involving 46 million patients) to determine overall suicide mortality in cancer patients.
They found that these patients were nearly twice as likely to die by suicide and 3.5 times more likely to die by suicide in those with poorer-prognosis cancers, including liver, stomach and head cancers.
According to the authors, these findings from the latest study could help inform collaborative cancer and mental health care practices to prioritize patients at highest risk, identify early signs of suicidal intent, and reduce short- and long-term risk of suicide.