Adequate follow-up may be needed to prevent suicide among young cancer survivors, according to a study published in the International Journal of Cancer.1

Researchers led by Maria Gunnes, MD, of the University of Bergen in Norway evaluated data from 5440 patients diagnosed with cancer before the age of 25 through a linkage of national registries to investigate risk of suicide and violent deaths among young adult patients.

The researchers identified 24 suicides and 14 non-suicidal violent deaths in the observed population, with a hazard ratio of suicide among patients with cancer being 2.5. Hazard ratio was 2.3 when patients were diagnosed with cancer in childhood (0 to 14 years of age) and 2.6 when patients were diagnosed during adolescence/young adulthood. Risk of non-suicidal violent death was not increased in cancer survivors.

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Patients who were survivors of bone/soft tissue sarcomas, central nervous system tumors, and testicular cancer were at particular risk.

“Although based on small numbers and the absolute risk of suicide being low, these are novel findings with important implications for establishing adequate follow-up,” the authors claim.


  1. Gunnes MW, Lie RT, Bjorge T, et al. Suicide and violent deaths in survivors of cancer in childhood, adolescence and young adulthood- a national cohort study. Int J Cancer. 2016 Oct 17. doi: 10.1002/ijc.30474 [Epub ahead of print]