The limited data on suicide in survivors of childhood cancer have been inconsistent, though they have generally suggested that suicide rates in these individuals are low.
When researchers examined a large population-based database to evaluate suicide rates among individuals who had childhood cancer in the United States from 1975-2016, they too found that the risk of suicide was low.
The team identified 49,836 childhood cancer survivors and 79 suicides, and there was approximately 1 suicide per 10,000 people per year. This rate was similar to the rate seen in the general U.S. population.
However, adult survivors of childhood cancer over 28 years of age had a higher risk of suicide than individuals at the same age from the general population, with 2 suicides per 10,000 people per year.
These findings highlight the importance of strategies that be done to prevent suicide in vulnerable long-term adult survivors of childhood cancer. Such efforts may include screening for distress and better-employing survivorship care with a multidisciplinary team.
Additional research is also needed to study the underlying reasons and risk factors for suicides in these individuals to help in tailoring interventions to cancer survivors at greatest risk.