SAN FRANCISCO, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- First-year cancer patients risk higher suicide rates than the general population in the United States, said a study published Monday in the online edition of Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
A group of scientists from Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School in the United States and one of the largest university hospitals in Europe, Charite-Universitatsmedizin (Charite) Berlin, Germany, studied the database of about 28 percent of U.S. cancer patient population collected from 2000 to 2014.
They found that 1,585 of nearly 4.672 million patients have committed suicide within one year of their diagnosis, about two and half times more likely than the general population.
The research showed that patients suffering pancreatic and lung cancers topped the list of people most likely to commit suicide, while those diagnosed of colorectal cancer also faced a significant rate of risks of killing themselves.
However, no remarkable increase was observed in the risks of suicide among patients of breast and prostate cancers.
The research was led by co-senior authors Hesham Hamoda from Boston Children's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, and Ahmad Alfaar of Charite-Universitätsmedizin.
Alfaar said it is important to offer screening services to prevent possible suicides and mental health care for those vulnerable people to save their lives, especially within the first six months after diagnosis.
The research "is the largest study to assess recent trends in suicide risk after a cancer diagnosis in the U.S. population," said lead author Anas Saad from Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt.
The scientists said their study shed light on the fact that sometimes cancer itself might not be the direct cause of deaths, but the acts of suicides resulting from stress of dealing with the disease led to a higher rate of mortalities.