Indian Journal of PsychiatryIndian Journal of Psychiatry
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Year : 2005  |  Volume : 47  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 79-83

Suicidal behaviour among terminally ill cancer patients in India

Department of Psychiatry, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal 576119, Udupi, India

Correspondence Address:
K S Latha
Department of Psychiatry, Kasturba Hospital, Manipal 576119, Udupi
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5545.55950

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Background: Passive suicidal thoughts are relatively common in patients with terminal cancer. There is a need for more information about the factors that influence these patients to desire death. Aim: To examine the prevalence of suicidal ideation among terminally ill cancer patients. Methods: Fifty-four terminally ill inpatients (27 men and 27 women) from the palliative care unit of the Oncology department of Kasturba Hospital, Manipal were evaluated on various rating scales for depression, hopelessness and suicidal ideation, and the correlation of suicidal ideation with medical symptoms such as pain, as well as awareness of the diagnosis and understanding of the illness. Results: Most patients (79.7%) denied having suicidal thoughts or wishing for an early death; only 9.2% had severe suicidal ideation. Two patients (3.8%) with severe suicidal ideation had a past history of major depression. Factors such as the presence of pain, awareness of the diagnosis and understanding of the illness contributed to depressive mood states. Conclusion: Suicidal ideation and a desire for death appear to be linked exclusively to the presence of a mental disorder. In addition, poor pain control, and awareness of the diagnosis may also contribute to suicidal ideation.



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