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Study: Cancer Diagnoses Increase Suicide Risk By 60 Percent In Younger Patients

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File photo of chemotherapy drugs. (credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

File photo of chemotherapy drugs. (credit: Chris Hondros/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – A recent study suggests that teenagers and young adults who are diagnosed with cancer could be at an increased risk of suicide.

Health Day is reporting that a team at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden studied a group of young people between the ages of 15 and 30, and found a 60 percent higher risk of suicide in participants who had been diagnosed with cancer.

In all, data concerning a reported 8 million males and females was examined during the course of the study, all of whom were age 15 or older between 1987 and 2009. Of those, 12,600 had cancer.

Researchers noted that, while a diagnosis of cancer could increase a patient’s risk of suicide, the danger is especially present in younger sufferers.

“[B]ecause adolescents and young adults are still developing their coping strategies for stress, they may be more affected than adults when facing major adversity such as a cancer diagnosis,” lead researcher Donghao Lu was quoted as saying.

He added, “Although the absolute risk of suicidal behavior is small among the young cancer patients, these findings do imply that the young patients suffer from great emotional stress after the diagnosis.”

Those involved in the study stressed the importance of proper screening and taking precautions when it came to caring for the emotional well-being of younger cancer patients.

Lu also asserted, “The best support should be delivered through cooperation among different parties, including the medical professionals, psychological professionals, family members, as well as social workers.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, various forms of Leukemia and cancers that affected the brain or central nervous system were most common in America’s youngest cancer patients.

The study was published in the journal Annals of Oncology.

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