The need for improved psychological support for all patients diagnosed with cancer, and attention to modifiable risk factors, such as pain, particularly in specific cancer groups comes from a nationwide survey in England with regard to suicide.( Henson et al, November 21, 2018, JAMA Oncology).
In this population-based study of 4 722 099 adult patients with cancer, a 20% increased risk of suicide compared with the general population was noted, corresponding to 0.19 excess deaths per 10 000 person-years. Patients with mesothelioma, pancreatic, esophageal, and lung cancer had the highest risk.
The study concludes that the first 6 months after diagnosis of cancer has been shown to be a critical period, identifying the time during which cancer care pathways should pay particular attention to the psychological health needs of the patients; as suicide is hard to predict, all patients should receive improved psychological support.