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By On August 29th, 2006

Some Childhood Cancer Survivors Face Suicide Risk As Adults

There have been many studies on the relatedness of depression and suicidality during treatment of cancer. However, there have been very few studies on the effects of treatment on childhood cancer survivors in the years subsequent to treatment. A recent study suggested that, “the pain, depression, and other aspects of diagnosis and treatment can turn thoughts in adulthood to suicide…” The study focused on 100 men and 126 women with an average age of 28. 29 of the participants were reported to have suicidal ideation according to the Beck Depression Inventory and Scale for Suicidal Ideation. Out of the group, 4% had actually attempted suicide. This is higher than normal population reports. The following is an excerpt of the article:

Of 226 adult survivors of childhood cancer, 29 (13%), reported suicidal symptoms nearly two decades after diagnosis and successful treatment , said Christopher J. Recklitis, Ph.D., M.P.H., of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute here, and colleagues reported in the Aug. 20 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

“Despite the substantial literature describing suicidality in patients undergoing cancer therapy, few studies have examined suicidal symptoms in the years after treatment,” Dr. Recklitis and colleagues wrote.

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