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Medical News and Perspectives
October 11, 2006

High Suicide Risk Found for Patients With Head and Neck Cancer

JAMA. 2006;296(14):1716-1717. doi:10.1001/jama.296.14.1716

Chicago—Traditional treatment regimens and limited interventional therapies for patients with head and neck cancer (HNC) have led to unanticipated social and psychological problems for such individuals, including a dramatic increase in the risk of suicide, according to experts gathered at the American Head and Neck Society's annual meeting here in August.

In work presented by Stephanie Misono, MD, and Bevan Yueh, MD, from the University of Washington, in Seattle, researchers found that the suicide rate in patients with HNC was substantially higher than that of either the general population or the overall population of patients with cancer. The study population included patients with single primary cancer sites entered into the national network of US population-based cancer registries in the National Cancer Institute's Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) program between 1973 and 2002.

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