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Psychooncology. 2018 Jul;27(7):1750-1756. doi: 10.1002/pon.4720. Epub 2018 Apr 23.

Circumstances of suicide among individuals with a history of cancer.

Author information

1
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Cancer can trigger psychological distress, which may be associated with risk of suicide. We explored precipitating circumstances of suicides among decedents with and without a history of cancer.

METHODS:

Coroner or medical examiner and law enforcement narratives of adult suicides were coded from 17 participating states in Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Violent Death Reporting System during 2004 to 2013. Bivariate and multivariate analyses examined associations between cancer history and factors that precipitated suicide.

RESULTS:

Of 90 581 suicides, 4182 decedents (4.6%) had a history of cancer. Significantly more decedents with a history of cancer (versus without) were male, non-Hispanic white, married, veterans, and aged 55 or older (P < .001). Decedents with a history of cancer were more likely to die of suicide by firearm and less likely to die of suicide by suffocation compared to poisoning. In matched case analyses controlling for demographic and recent circumstances, fewer decedents with a history of cancer had mental health problems, history of suicide attempts, alcohol use problems, intimate partner problems, financial problems, job problems, and recent crisis.

CONCLUSIONS:

Findings highlight the potential to identify high-risk populations for suicide prevention in clinical practice.

KEYWORDS:

cancer; oncology; psychological distress; self-harm; suicide

PMID:
29624792
PMCID:
PMC6063079
[Available on 2019-07-01]
DOI:
10.1002/pon.4720

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