Prostate cancer diagnosis may increase suicide risk

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Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): A new research suggests that a prostate cancer diagnosis carries an immediate risk of suicide and cardiovascular death.

Fang Fang of the Channing Laboratory, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, in Boston, and colleagues analysed data from more than 340,000 prostate cancer patients listed in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database between 1979 and 2004 and from the general population to come up with their findings.

The study, which has appeared online February 2 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, saw researchers comparing risks in the first year and months after diagnosis.he study found that 148 men died of suicide and 6,845 died of cardiovascular diseases. Increased risk of suicide was discovered during the first year, in particular the first 3 months. The risk of cardiovascular death was slightly higher during the first year, especially in the first month and principally among those with metastatic disease.

It was discovered that the elevated suicide risk was apparent before prostate-specific antigen (PSA) testing was common (1979) and when it was first introduced (1987), but not since PSA testing has been widespread (1993).

The authors write: "We believe that suicide and cardiovascular death reflect only the tip of the iceberg of anxiety, mood disturbance, and perhaps other mental illness (or suffering) after a prostate cancer diagnosis.

"Hence, our study suggests the potential importance of providing emotional counseling and support for patients newly diagnosed with cancer. It also adds to the increasingly complex scenario of pros and cons of extensive PSA testing, which entails detection of large numbers of nonlethal prostate cancers." (ANI)

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