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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 435-440

A study on suicide among Indians living with cancer during 2001–2014

1 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kanchipuram, India
2 Professor, Department of Oral Pathology, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Rooban Thavarajah
Professor, Department of Oral Pathology, Ragas Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-509X.200654

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BACKGROUND: A small subset of Indian people living/diagnosed with cancer commits suicide. The prevalence and changing trends in such cancer-related suicides are not much reported in literature. An attempt is made to address this subset of suicides during 2001–2014. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Data for this study were collected from the Indian National Crime Bureau Record, cancer registry publication in open domain, and published literature. Trends in the number of suicides associated with state, age groups, genders, and years were the only available parameters. Using these data, descriptive statistics of the rate of suicides, linear trend with age groups, gender, and geographical divisions are presented. RESULTS: During the study period of 14 years, 1,721,946 suicides with an average of 122,996 suicides per year were observed. One in five suicides was related to illness. In total, a sum of 10,421 cancer-related suicides were noted accounting a mean of 744 suicides per year. Males were commonly involved than females. The commonly involved age group was 45–59 years. Southern parts of India had more instances of cancer-related suicides. Among Indian states, West Bengal reported the highest of such instances. DISCUSSION: Suicide trends among Indians living with cancer during 2001–2014 are presented. The possible causes behind this phenomenon and implications are presented. The effect of changes in the trends in terms of geographical distribution, age group distribution, and gender dynamics is presented and discussed in this context. CONCLUSION: Suicide among PLWC is a multi-dimensional, complex phenomenon, orchestrated by several factors, including mental health. The nascent field of psycho-oncology in India needs to explore this through large scale validated studies.


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