Men are at elevated risk of suicide following a prostate cancer (PCa) diagnosis, according to a new study.

The increase in risk is more pronounced among men older than 75 years at diagnosis.

In a meta-analysis of 8 observational studies that included 1,281,393 men with PCa and 842,294 matched men who did not have PCa, a team led by Shusheng Wang, MD, of Guangdong Provincial Hospital of Chinese Medicine in Guangzhou, China, found an overall 2-fold increased risk of suicide among men diagnosed with PCa during the first year compared with PCa-free men. The risk was particularly elevated during the first 6 months after diagnosis.

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In the PCa group, the investigators found no significant increase in risk beyond 12 months after diagnosis. Men who were older than 75 years at diagnosis had a 51% higher risk of risk of suicide than PCa-free men, whereas patients younger than 65 years at diagnosis had a 37% increased risk.

In addition, the meta-analysis demonstrated that men who had hormonal therapy had a significant 80% increased risk of suicide compared with the PCa-free men, whereas those who underwent curative treatment had a non-significant 11% increased risk.

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Dr Wang and colleagues published their findings in Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases, where they wrote: “Urologists may need to learn psychological counseling techniques to screen patients at higher risk of suicide. The diagnosis of prostate cancer is usually not the only cause of suicide; therefore, relevant factors, including mental illnesses and socioeconomic factors, must be recognized by urologists.”


Guo Z, Gan S, Li Y, et al. Incidence and risk factors of suicide after a prostate cancer diagnosis: a meta-analysis of observational studies. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2018; published online ahead of print.