Suicidal ideation, distress, and related factors in a population of cancer patients treated in a general acute hospital

  • Purpose: Suicidality and suicidal ideation (SI) in oncology has long been an underestimated danger. Although there are cancer-specific distress screening tools available, none of these specifically incorporates items for SI. We examined the prevalence of SI in cancer patients, investigated the relation between SI and distress, and tried to identify additional associated factors. Methods: A cross-sectional study with patients treated for cancer in a primary care hospital was conducted. Psychosocial distress and SI in 226 patients was assessed. An expert rating scale (PO-Bado-SF) and a self-assessment instrument (QSC-R23) were used to measure distress. SI was assessed with item 9 of the PHQ-9. Data was descriptively analyzed, and correlations and group comparisons between clinically distressed and non-distressed patients were calculated. Results: SI was reported by 15% of patients. Classified as clinically distressed were 24.8% (QSC-R23) to 36.7% (PO-Bado-SF). SI was correlated with externally (rτ = 0.19, p < 0.001) and self-rated distress (rτ = 0.31, p < 0.001). Symptoms sufficiently severe for at least a medium major depressive episode were recorded in 23.5% of patients (PHQ-9). Factors associated with SI were feeling bad about oneself, feeling down, depressed, and hopeless, deficits in activities of daily life, psycho-somatic afflictions, social restrictions, and restrictions in daily life. Being in a steady relationship seemed to have a protective effect. Conclusions: SI is common in cancer patients. Distress and associated factors are increased in patients with SI. A distress screening with the ability to assess SI could be an important step in prevention, but more research is necessary.

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Author:Bianca SenfORCiDGND, Bernd Bender, Jens Fettel
Parent Title (English):Supportive care in cancer
Place of publication:Berlin ; Heidelberg ; New York,NY
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/07/29
Date of first Publication:2021/07/29
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2022/10/23
Tag:Cancer; Distress; Screening; Suicidal ideation; Suicide
Page Number:10
First Page:487
Last Page:496
Open Access funding enabled and organized by Projekt DEAL. The author received financial support from H.W. & J. Hector Stiftung, Grant/Award Number: Medizinprojekt M64.
Institutes:Medizin / Medizin
Dewey Decimal Classification:6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 4.0