Cardiovascular and suicide risk raised after prostate cancer diagnosis

Dec 15, 2009

Men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer have an increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide, reports a new study in this week's PLoS Medicine. Katja Falland Fang Fang from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and their colleagues found that the relative risks of cardiovascular events and suicide were elevated during the first year after prostate cancer diagnosis, particularly during the first week.

The researchers used the Swedish Cancer Register to identify men 30 years or older diagnosed with between 1961 and 2004, and then searched for information on men's subsequent fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events and suicides from the Causes of Death Register and the Inpatient Register in Sweden. Of the 168,584 men diagnosed with prostate cancer during the study period, 10,126 (6%) experienced a during the year following diagnosis and 136 (0.08%) committed .

The researchers found that before 1987, men with prostate cancer were about eleven times as likely to have a fatal cardiovascular event during the first week after their diagnosis as men without prostate cancer. During the first year after their diagnosis, men with prostate cancer were nearly twice as likely to have a cardiovascular event as men without prostate cancer (a relative risk of 1.9). From 1987, the relative risk of combined fatal and non-fatal cardiovascular events associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer was 2.8 during the first week and 1.3 during the first year after diagnosis; that is, diagnosed men were about three times as likely to have a cardiovascular event during the first week as undiagnosed men, and at a slightly raised risk in the first year.

Because a very few men newly diagnosed with prostate cancer committed suicide (just 136 of nearly 170,000 men included in the study), the absolute risk of suicide is very small. However, the relative risk of suicide associated with a diagnosis of prostate cancer was 8.4 during the first week and 2.6 during the first year after diagnosis throughout the study period.

The authors say that the emotional stress associated with the diagnosis of prostate cancer may lead to higher risks of cardiovascular morbidity and suicide. "The risks are highest during the first week after diagnosis and young men seem to be most vulnerable, say the authors. "These unrecognized consequences of a prostate cancer diagnosis deserve the attention of health professionals to the increasing number of men that are diagnosed with this disease."

The study has important limitations: no information on tumor size or aggressiveness is contained in the Cancer Register, so the researchers could not look at the relationship between disease severity and the likelihood of a cardiovascular event or suicide. Furthermore, because of the study design, men who received a diagnosis of prostate cancer may have had additional characteristics in common that contributed to their increased risk of cardiovascular events and suicide.

Explore further: Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation eases vestibulodynia

More information: Fall K, Fang F, Mucci L, Ye W, Andre´n O, et al. (2009) Immediate Risk for Cardiovascular Events and Suicide Following a Prostate Cancer Diagnosis:Prospective Cohort Study. PLoS Med 6(12): e1000197. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000197

Provided by Public Library of Science

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Raised risk of prostate cancer in Black men

Oct 01, 2008

( -- Black men living in England are three times more likely to get prostate cancer than White men and tend to be diagnosed five years younger, researchers have found.

Possible link found between X-rays and prostate cancer

Jul 15, 2008

Researchers at The University of Nottingham have shown an association between certain past diagnostic radiation procedures and an increased risk of young-onset prostate cancer — a rare form of prostate cancer which affects ...

Recommended for you

Flu season off to a slow start ... for now

1 hour ago

(HealthDay)—This year's flu season is off to a slow but detectable start. And it appears to be a typical one that's likely to peak in January or February, a leading U.S. health official says.

Update on new treatments for liver diseases

1 hour ago

Cirrhosis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are two serious liver conditions with limited pharmacological treatments. The December issues of AGA's journals—Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology and Gastro ...

Amateur photographers aid in remote skin sore trial

2 hours ago

Paediatric infectious disease specialists are bringing novel skin sore research methods to WA in the form of a protocol allowing non-professional photographers to capture high-quality images of skin sores ...

WHO confirms DR Congo Ebola-free status

3 hours ago

The World Health Organization confirmed Friday that the Democratic Republic of Congo was Ebola-free, as 42 days had passed since the last case in an outbreak that killed at least 49 people.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Dec 15, 2009
Interesting. My then 86 year old father was MIS-diagnosed with prostate cancer. (Cheaper to treat "terminal prostate cancer" than enlarged prostate). As soon as he was given the news, he stopped talking, eating, drinking. I briefly got him out of this state by asking him for a recipe, of all things. He started to tell me how to make his wonderful potato pancakes, caught himself being "normal," and stopped never spoke another word.

The lack of food and water brought on multiple organ failure. No thanks to the hospital for encouraging this. While in a coma, he had several exams, e.g., bone scan, brain scan. There was no cancer--ANYWHERE! There was no dementia of any kind, the man was sharp as tack.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.