Risk and predictors of suicide in colorectal cancer patients: A SEER analysis. Journal Articles uri icon

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  • 9596 Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) patients have a higher risk of suicide as compared with the general population. Due to differences in the sites/morbidity of recurrences as well as ostomy rates, we sought to evaluate the distribution and predictors of suicide among patients with colon and rectal cancer. Methods: A retrospective analysis was undertaken using the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database from 1973-2009. Patients included were >18yrs and had confirmed adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum. Results: Included in this analysis were 187,996 rectal cancer and 443,368 colon cancer patients. Colon cancer patients were older (median age 71 vs. 67 yrs, p <0.001) and included more females (51 vs. 43%, p <0.001) as compared to rectal cancer patients. Suicide rates were similar (611 [0.14%] vs. 337 [0.18%], p <0.001), as was the median time to suicide for colon vs. rectal cancer patients respectively (37 vs.32 months, p = 0.13). On univariate analysis, having rectal cancer was a predictor of suicide (HR 1.26; 95% CI: 1.10-1.43). However after adjustment for age, sex, race, marital, primary site surgery, stage and one primary, rectal cancer was not a predictor of suicide (HR 1.05; CI: 0.83- 1.33). In the combined CRC cohort, independent predictors of suicide included age >70 (HR 1.55; CI: 1.23-1.94), male gender (HR 7.56; CI: 5.34-10.70), being single (HR 1.56; CI: 1.14- 2.13), distant metastases at diagnosis (HR 1.58; CI: 1.13- 2.21), and white race (HR 3.21; CI: 1.75- 5.88). Also, lack of resection of primary tumor was associated with increased risk of suicide (HR 2.83; CI: 1.97- 4.05). Among colon cancer cohort, older age, male gender, and white race as well as lack of primary resection were independent predictors of suicide. Similarly, the aforementioned predictors as well as metastatic disease on presentation were the independent predictors of suicide in the rectal cohort. Conclusions: The suicide risk in CRC patients is low (< 0.2%) and no difference was found based on location of primary tumor. Gender, age, distant spread of disease, intact primary tumour and race are the main predictors of suicide among colorectal patients. Future studies and interventions are needed to target these high risk groups.


  • Samawi, Haider
  • Shaheen, Abdel Aziz
  • Tang, Patricia
  • Heng, Daniel Yick Chin
  • Cheung, Winson Y
  • Vickers, Michael M

publication date

  • May 20, 2013