Navigation Links
Cancer Diagnosis May Raise Odds for Suicide, Heart Attack Death

By Lisa Esposito
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 4 (HealthDay News) -- When people learn they have cancer, they might face a heightened risk of suicide or a fatal heart attack in the days and weeks that follow, according to a large new study.

Using nationwide census and death registry data that covered more than 6 million people over a 15-year period ending in 2006, Swedish researchers tabulated the suicides and cardiovascular fatalities among people with new cancer diagnoses and compared them to similar deaths in those without cancer.

Suicide risk was more than 12 times higher for people with cancer during the first week after diagnosis and nearly five times higher during the first three months, they found.

Death from cardiovascular causes -- particularly heart attack -- was 5.6 times higher in the week after a cancer diagnosis and 3.3 times higher in the first month.

Hard-to-treat cancers with poor odds for survival, including cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, liver, lung and central nervous system, were most common in these types of deaths, the researchers said.

"That the risk increase appeared so quickly after cancer diagnosis and then decreased in magnitude during the first year after diagnosis really illustrated the role of the diagnosis itself on these adverse outcomes," said study co-author Dr. Katja Fall, a senior lecturer in epidemiology at the University of Orebro. "It largely argues against [death] from cancer treatment and progression that presumably take time to accumulate."

The researchers found a prevalence of 0.18 suicides for cancer-free people and a prevalence of 0.36 for people with any type of cancer when they looked at deaths per 1,000 person-years.

Suicide risk decreased as time passed, but it was still about three times higher during the first year, and remained higher after. For heart-related death, risk leveled off after a year.

Researchers accounted for other factors that might predispose people to sudden heart death or suicide, such as seasonal differences and previous psychiatric illness, or demographic factors such as age or sex. Only adults aged 30 or older were included.

The study was published in the April 5 New England Journal of Medicine.

Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society, noted that because the study took place in Sweden, it's not certain how the results apply to the United States. Nevertheless, he said, "this study is saying we have to be aware that this is a very real problem."

"We believe that the words 'you have cancer' certainly can be associated with distress, but we also like to believe with support and care and love that people will find a way to confront their illness and move through that process under the best possible circumstances," Lichtenfeld added.

"But we can't always be optimistic that that's going to happen, and we have to be sensitive to the warning signals that somebody who has a history of depression or may be currently depressed could become more so -- we can't pass that off: 'Well, they've been told they have cancer, what do you expect?'" he said.

"Patients who have a history of depression need to be counseled and observed more carefully -- by their health professionals, by their family, by their friends, by their colleagues," Lichtenfeld said.

Nearly 550,000 cardiovascular deaths occurred during the study, with a prevalence of 23.1 in people with cancer diagnoses compared with 7.53 among cancer-free people. Heart attacks were the biggest cause, followed by strokes.

Both experts said that severe emotional stress could provoke physical changes.

"Psychological stress induces an array of physiological reactions, including the release of stress hormones such as catecholamines and corticosteroids that have impact on the cardiovascular system," Fall said.

Lichtenfeld noted that many U.S. patients are already under treatment for coronary artery and vascular disease.

"Certainly, if someone starts having increased symptoms of coronary artery disease, such as angina (chest pain), or decreased ability to walk, or increased shortness of breath with walking, once again that could be a medical emergency -- not just that someone's not feeling well because they've been told they have cancer," he said.

Although cancer treatments and survival rates continue to improve, study author Fall said it's impossible to predict whether statistics in studies like hers might also improve.

"We do observe higher risk increases among patients diagnosed with cancers of less favorable prognosis," she noted. "If the prognosis improves, one could, of course, hope that the risks for adverse stress-related health outcomes would decrease."

The study did not measure suicide attempts or serious but nonfatal heart attacks after a cancer diagnosis.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute describes how it feels to learn you have cancer.

SOURCES: Katja Fall, M.D, Ph.D., senior lecturer in epidemiology, University of Orebro, Sweden; Len Lichtenfeld, M.D., deputy chief medical officer, American Cancer Society, Atlanta; April 5, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Enhancing arrest of cell growth to treat cancer in mice
2. Paxil Blocks Tamoxifen, Lowers Survival Odds Against Breast Cancer
3. The National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship Joins the Commission on Cancer
4. Low forms of cyclin E reduce breast cancer drugs effectiveness
5. Racial disparities persist in the diagnosis of advanced breast cancer and colon cancer in the U.S.
6. Soft drinks may increase risk of pancreatic cancer
7. UH Case Medical Center researchers publish promising findings for advanced cervical cancer
8. Genes Play Role in Prognosis With Non-Small Cell Lung Cancers
9. Single gene mutation induces endometrial cancer
10. Certain genetic profiles associated with recurrence-free survival for non-small cell lung cancer
11. Molecular pathways linked to sex, age affect outcomes in lung cancer
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Cancer Diagnosis May Raise Odds for Suicide, Heart Attack Death
(Date:10/10/2015)... ... ... Isabel Healthcare will participate in the Cerner Health Conference October 11-14, 2015 ... Institute of Medicine’s latest report “Improving Diagnosis in Healthcare”, Isabel Healthcare will be featuring ... and consumers to potentially reduce the chance of error. The report suggests that most ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... October 09, 2015 , ... The American Osteopathic Foundation ... Graduate Medical Education J. Michael Finley, DO, as the recipient of the 2015 ... his impact on graduate medical education opportunities for osteopathic residents, and his dedication ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... ... A new health tool that helps identify if a sore throat is ... – just in time for the cold and flu season, which the Center for ... the U.S., the real start of cold/flu season is the start of the school ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... ... October 09, 2015 , ... Dentist in Huntington Beach ... system that uses clear, plastic aligners. This alternative to braces has become wildly ... allow patients to complete treatment in privacy. Additionally, Invisalign aligners are removable, so ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... October 09, 2015 , ... The Asthma ... the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to improve the knowledge and ... that AAFA has been awarded a project by the CDC and allows AAFA to ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
... better diagnosis and drug treatments, study says , , WEDNESDAY, ... most common form of mental retardation -- called nonsyndromic ... that may contribute to the condition, new research finds. ... occurs during development of the child and is not ...
... virus strikes healthy kids, and it affects more youngsters than ... It,s called respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a childhood infection that,s ... and one of every 38 emergency room trips, a new ... for inpatient hospital stays for one out of every 334 ...
... is a statement by Matthew L. Myers, President, ... and President Obama today are delivering a historic ... increasing federal tobacco taxes, including a 62-cent increase ... Children,s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP). This legislation ...
... Feb. 4 , WHAT: , ... event, with members of the cast,of Broadway,s Tony Award-winning best ... February 6, 2009 , WHO: , ... compelling stories of women making,heart-healthy choices and inspiring others with ...
... seeks new ways to prevent and treat chronic diseases such ... be conducted on the benefits of certain foods in reducing ... often cited as being high in antioxidants, which have the ... within the body, reducing the risk of cancer and other ...
... Feb. 4 Erik Olson, director of chemical and food ... the following statement today in response to the introduction of ... , , "In the midst of ... Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) could not be more timely. The ...
Cached Medicine News:
(Date:10/9/2015)... , October 9, 2015 ... die sich einer Kolonoskopie im Rahmen eines ... unterziehen. Die NOCT-Studie bewertete auch die Compliance, ... --> ® ) an erwachsenen Patienten ... eines Screenings, einer beobachtenden oder einer diagnostischen ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... , October 9, 2015 ... (OTCQB: CNBX) has announced its execution of an Intellectual Property ... Liabilities Agreement with Cannabics, Inc. a Delaware Corporation, related party, ... --> --> These ... of the Company, whereby the Research and Development components ...
(Date:10/9/2015)... India , October 9, 2015 ... --> The report ... market and overall status of the ... of guidance and direction for companies ... . ...
Breaking Medicine Technology:
... PRO-DEX, INC. (Nasdaq: PDEX ) invites investors and ... fiscal 2012 first quarter financial results. (Logo:   ... be broadcast live over the internet on Wednesday, November 9, ... and may be accessed by visiting the Company,s website at ...
... VIEW, Calif., Nov. 3, 2011 VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... were published in Obesity, the peer-reviewed journal of The ... the investigational drug Qnexa in 1,267 severely obese (BMI >/= 35 ... addition to average weight loss of 14.4% of initial body weight ...
Cached Medicine Technology:
2.5V Halogen source, fiber-optic delivery, 2.5X magnification....
Pocket-sized instrument with 2.5X magnification....
Pocket-sized instrument. All Keeler otoscopes have bright halogen illumination for clear and accurate visualization of aural canal. Lithium-ion batteries with quick recharge capability. Ring rheos...
Otoscope with 4X magnification lens, swivellable to both sides, with removable cover glass to insert external instruments. Sealed system allowing for pneumatic otoscopy. 2.5V halogen source....
Medicine Products: