Monday, October 26, 2009

Childhood cancer and suicide

People who have had cancer in their childhood are more likely to have suicidal thoughts in adulthood, even if their treatment ended many years ago. Researchers from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston studied 9,126 adult survivors of childhood cancer and compared them to 2,968 of their siblings. 7.8% of the survivors reported having suicidal thoughts, compared to only 4.5% of the control group. Because of the intensive treatment they receive childhood cancer survivors are at risk of developing chronic medical problems later in life and not surprisingly those who were in poorer health were more likely to have thought of killing themselves. 28.8% of those reporting poor overall health had thought about killing themselves compared to only 3.3% of other survivors. Those who had had brain and central-nervous-system cancers were at a higher risk of suicidal thoughts and other risk factors were: low levels of education, low income, recent unemployment and being unmarried or separated.

You can find out more about this research at

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