A new study has found that childhood cancer survivors are at an increased risk of developing suicidal symptoms. This conclusion was made by Christopher Recklitis and colleagues at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston after examining 226 patients aged 28. All patients were adult survivors of childhood cancer.
The patients were interviewed at an average of 18 years after their initial cancer diagnosis. Around 29 of the patients reported some suicidal symptoms, according to health portal Health Central.
Of those, 19 reported suicidal thoughts, while one had made a suicide attempt but was no longer troubled by thoughts of suicide, and nine had made suicide attempts and were currently thinking about suicide.
Only 11 of the 29 patients were considered to be significantly depressed, based on their responses to standard rating scales.
"Most people are doing fine, but there is a serious concern about the minority of survivors who have thoughts of ending their lives," said Recklitis.
Factors associated with increased risk for suicidal symptoms included younger age at cancer diagnosis and a longer period of time since diagnosis.
Another risk factor included radiation treatments to the head, which can cause growth problems and physical disfigurement, memory and cognitive function impairments, and an increased risk of second cancers.
Patients who felt depressed or hopeless, were in pain, had physical function problems, or were concerned about their appearance were also more likely to report suicidal symptoms, found the study.
Source: Indo-Asian News Service