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Prostate cancer diagnosis raises risk of committing suicide

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Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that, historically, men who were diagnosed with prostate cancer were twice as likely to commit suicide in the ensuing months and more likely die of heart problem than regular, healthy men.

The study, which, as CNN reports, was conducted by analyzing cancer statistics on a national level, by following 350,000 men for a year following their prostate cancer diagnosis between 1979 and 2004. CNN reports that during the follow-up period, it was found that nearly 150 men had committed suicide, and nearly 7,000 men had died of heart problems or cardiovascular issues.

We were interested in that window of time in the year following diagnosis,” said Lorelei Mucci of Brigham & Women’s and the Harvard School of Public Health

The fact that men are prone to suicide and cardiovascular problems “reflect only the tip of the iceberg of anxiety, mood disturbance, and perhaps other mental illness (or suffering) after a prostate cancer diagnosis,” the authors of the study wrote.

The article, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, however, suggests that because of early diagnosis, these trends seem to have slowed, in not reversed.

Now that researchers have found the stress linked to a prostate cancer diagnosis, they realize men need support after such a diagnosis, and hope to incorporate this into clinical practice.

Celebrities who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer include Dennis Hopper, Andrew Lloyd Weber, Jeff Jarvis, James Brown and Charlton Heston.

Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Penis.svg

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