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Med Hypotheses. 2014 Jan;82(1):16-9. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2013.10.025. Epub 2013 Nov 9.

Are suicide rates higher in the cancer population? An investigation using forensic autopsy data.

Author information

1
Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Raymond Poincaré Hospital, AP-HP, Versailles Saint-Quentin University, 104 Boulevard Raymond Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France. Electronic address: g.lorin@rpc.aphp.fr.
2
Department of Public Health (INSERM U657), Versailles Saint-Quentin University (EA4499), 104 Boulevard Raymond Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France.
3
Department of Forensic Medicine and Pathology, Raymond Poincaré Hospital, AP-HP, Versailles Saint-Quentin University, 104 Boulevard Raymond Poincaré, 92380 Garches, France.

Abstract

Previous population-based studies have identified increased suicide rates among cancer patients. Available post mortem data on the contribution of cancer to completed suicide are limited, however. This study examines forensic autopsy data in order to assess whether cancer is significantly more frequent in a suicide population compared with a control population. In total, 232 cases were included in both the suicide and the control groups. Based on a complete standard histological examination, cancer was significantly more often found in the suicide group than in the control one (8.6% vs. 3.9%, p=0.03). The multivariate analysis also showed that the presence of cancer increased the risk of suicide. Moreover, cancer was not known to the deceased in 70% of cases, while the most frequent mental disease found in cancer-related suicide cases was depression (75%). In the 20 cancer-related suicide cases analysed herein, it was difficult to ascertain whether malignancy was the only motive for committing suicide, as cancer could be considered to be either a major causative factor for suicide or an incidental finding. Therefore, further research is warranted with the help of the psychological autopsy method to investigate the link between suicide and cancer further.

PMID:
24257413
DOI:
10.1016/j.mehy.2013.10.025
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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