International Journal of Colorectal Disease

, Volume 34, Issue 3, pp 555–558 | Cite as

Suicide risk among colorectal cancer patients in Lithuania

  • Audrius DulskasEmail author
  • Ausvydas Patasius
  • Auguste Kaceniene
  • Vincas Urbonas
  • Giedre Smailyte
Short Communication



We aimed to estimate suicide risk among colorectal cancer patients in the country showing the highest suicide rates among developed countries.


Patients with colorectal cancer diagnosed between 1998 and 2012 were identified from the Lithuanian Cancer Registry. Standardised mortality ratios (SMRs) for suicide were calculated for patients diagnosed with cancer in Lithuania, relative to suicide rates in the general population.


Twenty thousand seven hundred sixty-five primary colorectal cancer cases diagnosed between 1998 and 2012 were extracted from the database. Among 19,409 first primary colorectal cancer patients, we identified 67 suicides and the expected number of suicides calculated from general population was 41.4 in this cohort, resulting in an SMR of 1.62 for both sexes (95% CI, 1.27–2.06). A higher suicide risk was found for women (SMR 2.15; 95% CI 1.35–3.41), than for men (SMR 1.48; 95% CI 1.12–1.96). The suicide risk was almost twice higher in patients 60 and older, with highest increase in the oldest patients (SMR 2.12, 95% CI 1.01–4.46). The risk of suicide was not significantly elevated in colorectal cancer patients with localised tumours, but there was a fourfold increase in risk in patients with stage IV tumours. Compared with the general population, the risk of suicide among colorectal cancer patients was four times higher during the first 3 months after diagnosis and decreased thereafter.


The patients with colorectal cancer have a higher rate of suicide compared with the general Lithuanian population. Sex, age, advanced rectal cancer and distant spread of disease were the main predictors of suicide among colorectal cancer patients.


Colorectal cancer Suicide Predictors Population-based study 



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Abdominal and General Surgery and OncologyNational Cancer InstituteVilniusLithuania
  2. 2.Faculty of Health CareUniversity of Applied SciencesVilniusLithuania
  3. 3.Department of SurgeryNational Cancer Institute, Clinic of Internal, Family Medicine and Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania
  4. 4.Laboratory of Cancer EpidemiologyNational Cancer InstituteVilniusLithuania
  5. 5.Laboratory of Clinical Oncology, Department of Medical OncologyNational Cancer InstituteVilniusLithuania
  6. 6.Institute of Public Health, Faculty of MedicineVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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