Cancer Diagnosis May Raise Odds for Suicide, Heart Attack Death

Risk appears greater for hard-to-treat disease, Swedish researchers say

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Although cancer treatments and survival rates continue to improve, study author Fall said it's impossible to predict whether statistics in studies like hers might also improve.

"We do observe higher risk increases among patients diagnosed with cancers of less favorable prognosis," she noted. "If the prognosis improves, one could, of course, hope that the risks for adverse stress-related health outcomes would decrease."

The study did not measure suicide attempts or serious but nonfatal heart attacks after a cancer diagnosis.

More information

The U.S. National Cancer Institute describes how it feels to learn you have cancer.

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