Research: Suicidal Thoughts in Patients with Cancer and Comorbid Major Depression: Findings from a Depression Screening Program
Authors: Jane Walker, MBChB, MSc, PhD, FACLP, et al.
Abstract/Extract: Researchers analyzed data from a routine depression screening program at three UK cancer clinics linked with clinical data from a national cancer registry.
They found that, of the patients attending cancer clinics who have comorbid major depression, almost one-third have “thoughts of death or suicide” and around one in 10 (a third of those with the DSM symptom) have suicidal thoughts—suggesting one in 10 require psychiatric assessment and management of suicide risk. “The staffing of depression screening programs should be designed with these data in mind,” say the researchers.
Importance: Unpacking broadly defined DSM symptoms is important for depression screening programs in cancer services. In patients with a life-threatening illness, such as cancer, the prevalence of suicidal thoughts indicates the amount of specialist psychiatric time required for risk assessment and management.
Availability: Pre-publication in the Journal of the Academy of Consultation-Liaison Psychiatry (JACLP)