Patients with urologic malignancies—including kidney cancer—are five times more likely to commit suicide than the general population, according to results of a large, national UK cohort study.
The suicide rate for patients with kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer was also higher than in patients with non-urologic cancers, said researcher Antonio Bardoli, MBChB, of the University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.
“Although other cancers may have a worse prognosis, it’s not necessarily reflected in suicide incidence rates,” Dr. Bardoli said in a presentation at the European Association of Urology annual congress in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Patients with urologic cancers appeared more intent on committing suicide, as shown by fewer unsuccessful attempts versus the general population, Dr. Bardoli also noted.
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These data are “startling, important, and clinically actionable,” said Alexander Kutikov, MD, of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia.
“The findings should serve as a call to action for urologic specialists who care for patients with cancer,” Dr. Kutikov told Urology Times.
In particular, urologic specialists should work more closely with mental health colleagues in order to develop care pathways through which mental health risks can be readily assessed and mitigated, said Dr. Kutikov, who was not involved with the study.
The retrospective analysis by Dr. Bardoli and colleagues included data for 980,761 UK patients diagnosed with cancer between 2001 and 2011. They identified a total of 162 suicides and 1,222 suicide attempts in that group.
Urologic cancer patients in the study had a suicide incidence of 49 per 100,000 individuals, compared with 30 per 100,000 for non-urologic cancers, and a reference rate of 10 per 100,000 in the general UK population.
Among the three urologic cancers, suicide rates were numerically lowest for kidney cancer, at 36 per 100,000, study results show, while rates for bladder and prostate cancer were 48 and 52 per 100,000, respectively.