Suicide continues to be a leading health concern for many American families. For those who are mentally ill, suicide often seems like a logical step in the escape from reality. For patients who are struggling with terminal illness, or even an illness that appears terminal, suicidal ideation is also quite common.
While it is an unfortunately statistics, cancer patients have been shown to have a significant rate of suicide with a two fold increase over the general population. In fact, it is expected that some cancer patients may commit suicide but the cancer, or some other health complication, is often attributed to the death, leaving many to believe this statistic on suicide rates in cancer patients is probably quite higher.
In an effort to manage the suicidal risks of the cancer patient, many oncology staff, especially nurses, are undergoing specialized training in the best way to assist cancer patients in managing pain and mental health complications. In most cases, cancer patients simply need education and support during the course of their treatment. With proper support, the risk for suicide is often negated.
Managing a cancer patient’s depression, anxiety, depression and even, at times, grief, is important to negating the risks for suicidal ideation. Often, the cancer patient who feels as if there is no support and understanding, is the one most at risk for suicidal ideation and suicidal attempt. Even with the support of family and nurses, there may be a need for added support through connecting and networking with other cancer patients and survivors.
Unfortunately, in many oncology clinic settings, the nursing staff may lack in the ability and education to offer the type of support needed by the cancer patient. While the nursing staff may know very well how to manage complications associated with physical issues, and support the oncologists in his services, the education and support of the patient may be lacking. For this reason, finding an oncology clinic that provides a collaborative and comprehensive approach is important to your mental health and well being during cancer treatment.
As with any complication that arises out of a progressive or terminal illness, it is important to seek medical attention early. Even when psychological services are not offered, it is important to connect with a nursing support staff that is well versed in the mental health complications associated with your cancer condition. Because there is an increased risk for suicide in the cancer patient, your mental health is just as important as your physical health, when battling cancer of any type.