Journal Article

Suicide After Breast Cancer: an International Population-Based Study of 723 810 Women

Catherine Schairer, Linda Morris Brown, Bingshu E. Chen, Regan Howard, Charles F. Lynch, Per Hall, Hans Storm, Eero Pukkala, Aage Anderson, Magnus Kaijser, Michael Andersson, Heikki Joensuu, Sophie D. Fosså, Patricia A.Ganz and Lois B. Travis

in JNCI: Journal of the National Cancer Institute

Volume 98, issue 19, pages 1416-1419
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0027-8874
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2105 | DOI:
Suicide After Breast Cancer: an International Population-Based Study of 723 810 Women

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Few studies have examined long-term suicide risk among breast cancer survivors, and there are no data for women in the United States. We quantified suicide risk through 2002 among 723 810 1-year breast cancer survivors diagnosed between January 1, 1953, and December 31, 2001, and reported to 16 population-based cancer registries in the United States and Scandinavia. Among breast cancer survivors, we calculated standardized mortality ratios (SMRs) and excess absolute risks (EARs) compared with the general population, and the probability of suicide. We used Poisson regression likelihood ratio tests to assess heterogeneity in SMRs; all statistical tests were two-sided, with a .05 cutoff for statistical significance. In total 836 breast cancer patients committed suicide (SMR = 1.37, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.28 to 1.47; EAR = 4.1 per 100 000 person-years). Although SMRs ranged from 1.25 to 1.53 among registries, with 245 deaths among the sample of US women (SMR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.32 to 1.70), differences among registries were not statistically significant (P for heterogeneity = .19). Risk was elevated throughout follow-up, including for 25 or more years after diagnosis (SMR = 1.35, 95% CI = 0.82 to 2.12), and was highest among black women (SMR = 2.88, 95% CI = 1.44 to 5.17) (P for heterogeneity = .06). Risk increased with increasing stage of breast cancer (P for heterogeneity = .08) and remained elevated among women diagnosed between 1990 and 2001 (SMR = 1.36, 95% CI = 1.18 to 1.57). The cumulative probability of suicide was 0.20% 30 years after breast cancer diagnosis.

Journal Article.  2816 words. 

Subjects: Medical Oncology

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