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Jpn J Clin Oncol. 2000 Dec;30(12):568-70.

Does alcohol drinking have an influence on suicides in cancer sufferers? A population-based study of 1515 suicide victims.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of Oulu, Oulun Yliopisto, Finland.



[corrected] We investigated whether alcohol drinking contributes to suicides in cancer sufferers when compared with non-cancer suicides. We also explored the suicide method used in cancer suicides.


The population-based, prospectively collected data sample consisted of 1515 completed suicides committed in the province of Oulu, Finland, during the period 1988-99. Victims who suffered from cancer were compared with other suicides.


Cancer patients who committed suicide were significantly less commonly under the influence of alcohol than non-cancer suicide victims (84.8% vs 54.7%). Mental disorders were less prevalent among cancer patients than non-cancer patients. The cancer patients were significantly older and more often retired and a trend that a greater proportion of cancer suicide victims were male was noted. Shooting and poisoning were the most common suicide methods among cancer patients.


An early recognition and evaluation of the extent of the suicidal tendencies among cancer patients is of great importance in clinical oncology, since preventive interventions would be effective especially for those without comorbid alcoholism at the time of the suicide.

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