Suicidal thoughts in cancer patients: Clinical experience in psycho-oncology

Citation
T. Akechi et al., Suicidal thoughts in cancer patients: Clinical experience in psycho-oncology, PSY CLIN N, 53(5), 1999, pp. 569-573
Citations number
26
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Clinical Psycology & Psychiatry
Journal title
PSYCHIATRY AND CLINICAL NEUROSCIENCES
ISSN journal
1323-1316 → ACNP
Volume
53
Issue
5
Year of publication
1999
Pages
569 - 573
Database
ISI
SICI code
1323-1316(199910)53:5<569:STICPC>2.0.ZU;2-C
Abstract
Because cancer is a life-threatening illness, its impact on the patient's e motional well-being, such as suicidal thoughts, has become a significant pr oblem in public health as well as in clinical oncology, Factors such as the pain and hopelessness are suggested as making cancer patients more vulnera ble to suicide. On the other hand, euthanasia and physician-assisted suicid e are now important medical and social issues all over the world. However, little is known about the relationship between the characteristics of cance r patients and suicidal thoughts. The present study investigated the charac teristics of patients who were referred to the Psychiatry Division, Nationa l Cancer Center Hospital East, due to risk of suicide or suicide attempts. Fourteen patients were referred, representing 3.9% of all consultations. Mo st of these patients suffered from advanced cancer and poor physical functi oning. The most frequent psychiatric diagnosis was mood disorder (57%), and the next was delirium (29%). In patients with mood disorders (8 cases), su icidal thoughts disappeared after psychiatric treatment in 5 cases, but not in 3 cases. Those three patients survived a significantly shorter time tha n the others after psychiatric consultation. These empirical data might ind icate that most suicidal thoughts experienced by cancer patients are not ra tional, and a careful evaluation, including psychiatric assessment, should be conducted in such patients.