Injuries Spike Around Cancer Diagnosis

Increased risk of iatrogenic injuries, non-iatrogenic injuries before and after diagnosis of cancer.
Increased risk of iatrogenic injuries, non-iatrogenic injuries before and after diagnosis of cancer.

(HealthDay News) -- Patients with cancer have increased risks of iatrogenic and non-iatrogenic injuries shortly before and after cancer diagnosis, according to a study published online in The BMJ.

Qing Shen, from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues examined the risks of iatrogenic and non-iatrogenic injuries before and after cancer diagnosis using data from Swedish national population and health registers. Data were included for 720,901 patients with a cancer diagnosis from 1991 to 2009.

The researchers identified 7,306 iatrogenic and 8,331 non-iatrogenic injuries during the diagnostic period (incidence rates, 0.60 and 0.69 per 1,000 person-months, respectively). Compared with the pre-diagnostic period, during the diagnostic period the incidence rate ratio for iatrogenic injuries was 7.0. The increase in risk started 2 weeks prior to diagnosis of cancer and peaked during the 2 weeks following diagnosis (48.6). The incidence rate ratio was 1.9 during the diagnostic period versus the pre-diagnostic period for non-iatrogenic injuries. The risk began to increase 4 weeks pre-diagnosis and peaked during the 2 weeks preceding diagnosis (incidence rate ratio, 5.3). For all common cancers there were increased risks for both types of injury during the diagnostic period, with the smallest risk increase for non-melanoma skin cancer.

"These findings shed further light on the total burden of medical complications and call for prevention of intentional and unintentional injuries during the diagnostic process of cancer," the authors write.

Sources

1. Shen Q, Lu D, Schelin MEC, et al. Injuries before and after diagnosis of cancer: nationwide register based study. BMJ 2016; 354 doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4218.
2. Prigerson HG, Vaughan SC, and Lichtenthal WG. The hidden dangers of a cancer diagnosis. BMJ 2016; 354 doi: 10.1136/bmj.i4446.

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