Better off dead: Suicidal thoughts in cancer patients
ABSTRACT Cancer is associated with an increased risk of suicide and attempted suicide. However, we do not know how many cancer patients have thoughts that they would be better off dead or thoughts of hurting themselves. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of such thoughts in cancer outpatients and which patients are most likely to have them.
A survey of consecutive patients who attended the outpatient clinics of a regional cancer center in Edinburgh, United Kingdom. Patients completed the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9), which included Item 9 that asks patients if they have had thoughts of being better off dead or of hurting themselves in some way in the previous 2 weeks. Those who reported having had such thoughts for at least several days in this period were labeled as positive responders. Patients also completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS) and a pain scale. The participating patients' cancer diagnoses and treatments were obtained from the cancer center clinical database.
Data were available on 2,924 patients; 7.8% (229 of 2,924; 95% CI, 6.9% to 8.9%) were positive responders. Clinically significant emotional distress, substantial pain, and--to a lesser extent--older age, were associated with a positive response. There was strong evidence of interactions between these effects, and emotional distress played the most important role.
A substantial number of cancer outpatients report thoughts that they would be better off dead or thoughts of hurting themselves. Management of emotional distress and pain should be a central aspect of cancer care.
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ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of mental clinical nursing pathways on suicidal ideation and life quality of patients with malignant tumors. Two hundred patients with malignant tumors were randomly divided into a study group and a control group, with 100 patients in each group. During the treatment, patients in the study group received mental clinical nursing pathway care, while those in the control group were given the usual nursing care, such as timely inspection, nurse's reactions to patient's behavior, and execution of medical orders. Thereafter, the "self-rating idea of suicide scale" and Karnofsky Performance Status (KPS) were used to compare the differences in the suicidal ideation of patients with malignant tumors between the two groups before and after the treatment. There were no statistical differences in the scores of despair factor, optimistic factor, sleep factor, and cover factor between the two groups before the treatment (P>0.05). After different styles of nursing, the former four factors of patients in the study group were significantly lower than those in the control group (P<0.01), while there were no significant differences in the score of cover factor between the two groups (P>0.05). The KPS of patients receiving mental clinical nursing pathway care was higher than those receiving usual nursing care, and there was a statistical significant difference between the two groups (P<0.01). Interestingly, the patients' suicidal ideation scale was negatively correlated with KPS (r =-0.29, P<0.05). For individuals diagnosed with a malignant tumor, using a mental health clinical nursing pathway can effectively decrease the degree of suicidal ideation and positively impact the quality of life.Patient Preference and Adherence 12/2014; 8:1665-9. DOI:10.2147/PPA.S74132 · 1.49 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Medical conditions are often complicated by major depression, with consequent additional impairment of quality of life. We aimed to compare the effectiveness of an integrated treatment programme for major depression in patients with cancer (depression care for people with cancer) with usual care. Methods SMaRT Oncology-2 is a parallel-group, multicentre, randomised controlled effectiveness trial. We enrolled outpatients with major depression from three cancer centres and their associated clinics in Scotland, UK. Participants were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to the depression care for people with cancer intervention or usual care, with stratification (by trial centre) and minimisation (by age, primary cancer, and sex) with allocation concealment. Depression care for people with cancer is a manualised, multicomponent collaborative care treatment that is delivered systematically by a team of cancer nurses and psychiatrists in collaboration with primary care physicians. Usual care is provided by primary care physicians. Outcome data were collected up until 48 weeks. The primary outcome was treatment response (≥50% reduction in Symptom Checklist Depression Scale [SCL-20] score, range 0–4) at 24 weeks. Trial statisticians and data collection staff were masked to treatment allocation, but participants could not be masked to the allocations. Analyses were by intention to treat. This trial is registered with Current Controlled Trials, number ISRCTN40568538. Findings 500 participants were enrolled between May 12, 2008, and May 13, 2011; 253 were randomly allocated to depression care for people with cancer and 247 to usual care. 143 (62%) of 231 participants in the depression care for people with cancer group and 40 (17%) of 231 in the usual care group responded to treatment: absolute difference 45% (95% CI 37–53), adjusted odds ratio 8·5 (95% CI 5·5–13·4), p<0·0001. Compared with patients in the usual care group, participants allocated to the depression care for people with cancer programme also had less depression, anxiety, pain, and fatigue; and better functioning, health, quality of life, and perceived quality of depression care at all timepoints (all p<0·05). During the study, 34 cancer-related deaths occurred (19 in the depression care for people with cancer group, 15 in the usual care group), one patient in the depression care for people with cancer group was admitted to a psychiatric ward, and one patient in this group attempted suicide. None of these events were judged to be related to the trial treatments or procedures. Interpretation Our findings suggest that depression care for people with cancer is an effective treatment for major depression in patients with cancer. It offers a model for the treatment of depression comorbid with other medical conditions. Funding Cancer Research UK and Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government.The Lancet 09/2014; 384(9948). DOI:10.1016/S0140-6736(14)61231-9 · 39.21 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Major depression is an important complication of cancer. However, reliable data are lacking for the prevalence of depression in patients with cancer in different primary sites, the association of depression with demographic and clinical variables within cancer groupings, and the proportion of depressed patients with cancer receiving potentially effective treatment for depression. We investigated these questions with data from a large representative clinical sample. Methods We analysed data from patients with breast, lung, colorectal, genitourinary, or gynaecological cancer who had participated in routine screening for depression in cancer clinics in Scotland, UK between May 12, 2008, and Aug 24, 2011. Depression screening was done in two stages (first, Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale; then, major depression section of the Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition). Data for depression status were linked with demographic and clinical data obtained from the Scottish National Cancer Registry. Findings We analysed data for 21 151 patients. The prevalence of major depression was highest in patients with lung cancer (13.1%, 95% CI 11.9-14.2%), followed by gynaecological cancer (10.9%, 9.8-12.1), breast cancer (9.3%, 8.7-10.0), colorectal cancer (7.0%, 6.1-8.0), and genitourinary cancer (5.6%, 4.5-6.7). Within these cancer groupings, a diagnosis of major depression was more likely in patients who were younger, had worse social deprivation scores, and, for lung cancer and colorectal cancer, female patients. 1130 (73%) of 1538 patients with depression and complete patient-reported treatment data were not receiving potentially effective treatment. Interpretation Major depression is common in patients attending cancer clinics and most goes untreated. A pressing need exists to improve the management of major depression for patients attending specialist cancer services.The Lancet Psychiatry 08/2014; 1(5). DOI:10.1016/S2215-0366(14)70313-X