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Stress From Prostate Cancer Diagnosis May Be Fatal

Risk of cardiovascular event, suicide goes up within a week of getting news, researchers say

TUESDAY, Dec. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Emotional stress can put newly diagnosed prostate cancer patients at increased risk for cardiovascular events and suicide, a new study has found.

Researchers analyzed data on 168,584 Swedish men diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1961 and 2004. Of those men, 10,126 (6 percent) experienced a cardiovascular event within a year of cancer diagnosis and 136 (0.08 percent) committed suicide.

Before 1987, prostate cancer patients were about 11 times more likely to experience a fatal cardiovascular event during the first week after diagnosis than men without prostate cancer. During the first year after diagnosis, prostate cancer patients were nearly twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event as men without prostate cancer, the researchers found.

After 1987, the risk of fatal or non-fatal cardiovascular events in men with prostate cancer was about three times higher in the first week and slightly higher in the first year after diagnosis, compared to men without prostate cancer, they noted.

Although only 136 of the nearly 170,000 men included in the study committed suicide, the relative risk of suicide associated with prostate cancer was 8.4 during the first week and 2.6 during the first year, according to the report published online Dec. 14 in the journal PLoS Medicine.

More information

The American Cancer Society has more about prostate cancer.

-- Robert Preidt

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, news release, Dec. 14, 2009

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