Suicide in patients with pancreatic cancer

Kiran K. Turaga, Mokenge P. Malafa, Paul B. Jacobsen, Michael J. Schell, Michael G. Sarr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Background: Depression is highly prevalent in patients with pancreatic cancer and can result in fatal outcomes from suicides. The authors report suicide rates among patients with pancreatic cancer in the United States and identify factors associated with greater suicide rates. Methods: The current study reviewed data in the SEER database for patients diagnosed with pancreatic adenocarcinoma from 1995-2005. Logistic regression models were used to perform multivariate modeling for factors associated with suicide, while Kaplan-Meier analysis was used to assess factors affecting survival. Results: Among 36,221 patients followed for 22,145 person-years, the suicide rate was 135.4 per 100,000 person-years. The corresponding rate in the US population aged 65-74 years was 12.5 per 100,000 person-years, with a Standardized Mortality Ratio (SMR) of 10.8 (95% CI, 9.2-12.7). Greater suicide rates were noted in males (Odds Ratio (OR) 13.5 [95% CI, 3.2-56.9, P <.001]) and, among males, in patients undergoing an operative intervention (OR 2.5 [95% CI, 1.0-6.5, P =.05]). Married men had a lesser risk of committing suicide (OR 0.3 [95% CI, 0.1-0.6, P =.002]). Median survival among patients undergoing operative intervention was 2 months for those who committed suicide compared with 10 months for those who did not commit suicide. Conclusions: Male patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma have a risk of suicide nearly 11 times that of the general population. Patients who undergo an operative intervention are more likely to commit suicide, generally in the early postoperative period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)642-647
Number of pages6
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2011


  • depression
  • pancreatic cancer
  • psychologic intervention
  • suicide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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