HealthDay News — Male sex, older age at diagnosis, White race, and having acute myeloid leukemia are risk factors associated with suicide among patients with leukemia, according to a study published online Oct. 6 in Cancer Medicine.

Haohui Yu, from the First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan University in China, and colleagues analyzed data from 142,386 patients with leukemia from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results database (from 1975 to 2017) to identify potential risk factors associated with suicide.

During an observation period of 95,397 person-years, the researchers found that 191 of the patients committed suicide. For leukemia patients, the suicide rate was 26.41 per 100,000 person-years, and the standardized mortality rate was 2.16. In univariate and multivariate analyses, higher risk for suicide was associated with male sex (hazard ratio [HR], 4.41), older age at diagnosis (60 to 69, 70 to 79, and ≥80 years vs ≤39 years; HRs, 2.60, 2.84, and 2.94, respectively), White vs Black race (HR, 6.80), acute myeloid leukemia and unspecified and other specified leukemia vs lymphocytic leukemia (HRs, 1.59 and 2.72), and living in a small vs large city (HR, 2.10). A protective factor for suicide was non-Hispanic Black vs Hispanic race (HR, 0.06).

“Medical workers can use our research results to screen leukemia patients with a higher risk of suicide and apply targeted preventive measures to them,” the authors write.


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