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Those who survive head and neck cancers are more prone to suicide: SLU

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“Now, more than ever before, people are outliving their cancer diagnosis. This makes lifelong surveillance critical – being considered a ‘cancer survivor’ does not tell you how well the individual is doing,” Osazuwa-Peters said. “Some cancer survivors unfortunately decide that is better that they are dead rather than being alive.”

It is a thing of joy to survive cancer. And it gladdens the heart to hear that modern medical interventions have increased the chances of survival from cancers.

Given the statistics of the number of people living with cancers, and considering that it is one disease where victims  rarely survive, one would appreciate what it means to survive such an ordeal.

“More than 15.5 million individuals are living with a cancer diagnosis, and the number of cancer survivors is projected to be more than 20 million by 2026. Three percent of those diagnosed patients have head and neck cancer.”

However, surviving cancers comes at a cost, according to a new study  by Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, PH.D., MPH, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine and faculty member at the Saint Louis University Cancer Center. The findings were published in the latest issue of the journal Cancer.

Nosayaba Osazuwa-Peters, BDS, PH.D., MPH, assistant professor of otolaryngology at Saint Louis University

Those who survive head and neck cancers are two times more likely to commit suicide when compared to survivors of other cancers and four times more that the general population.

“This problem of suicide is bigger than many realize. In the general U.S. population, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death,” Osazuwa-Peters said. “But to think that it might be an even bigger problem among cancer survivors is staggering.”

Read more on the new study on SLU website: Head and Neck Cancer Survivors at Increased Risk of Suicide