Suicide Risk Factors and Genitorurinary Cancer Patients

Dr.MarthaTerris.head-shoulderA report headed by GRU Cancer Center physician Martha K. Terris, MD, and published in the journal Cancer presents the first detailed evaluation of suicide associated with genitourinary cancer patients. The research studied a large sample size – 2,268 suicides out of more than 1.2 million prostate, bladder, kidney, testis, and penile cancer patients recorded in the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database – to assess risk factors of suicide.  Among these disease sites, bladder and kidney cancers carried the highest risk of suicide (2.71 and 1.86 times that of the general population, respectively).  Two risk factors identified for all sites studied were male gender and unmarried status.  Also similar to the public at large, being a genitourinary cancer patient of the white versus African American race posed a higher risk of suicide.  Overall, factors studied included age, marital status, race, treatment intervention, stage of disease, and length of time post-diagnosis.  The authors emphasize the importance of increasing the awareness of suicide risk factors among physicians caring for oncology patients so that appropriate help can be provided.  Please see a GReport feature article based on this study.

[Klaassen Z, Jen RP, DiBianco JM, Reinstatler L, Li Q, Madi R, Lewis RW, Smith AM, Neal DE Jr, Moses KA, Terris MK. Factors associated with suicide in patients with genitourinary malignancies. Cancer. 2015 Jun 1;121(11):1864-72.]
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Written by Allison Brown

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