Cancer Mortality Higher in Patients with Schizophrenia

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Shocking findings were reported in the August 1st issue of CANCER; cancer patients with schizophrenia possess a mortality rate that is 50% higher than general populations. In fact, cancer in patients with schizophrenia is the second leading cause of death among the group, suicide being the leading cause. According to Frederic Limosin, MD, PhD, of the University of Reims and Robert Debre Hospital in Reims, France, and colleagues, the mortality rate among cancer patients with schizophrenia is nearly four times as high as in general populations. “The continuing cultural stigma associated with schizophrenia can lead to barriers to access to medical care for these patients and may also contribute to diagnostic or treatment delays… It appears essential for psychiatrists to be attentive to the medical care of schizophrenic patients and to evaluate their compliance to therapy for somatic disease,” the researchers said. Perhaps cancer patients with schizophrenia do not possess the same support systems as general populations, contributing to quality of care; possibly general populations could possess greater recourses overall equating to greater rates of treatment at specialized facilities. The causes for the increased rate of mortality among cancer patients with schizophrenia are uncertain; regardless of the causes, it is certain that these findings warrant greater detection and prevention efforts on the part of medical communities and individual support systems. Click here to read an article from Modern Medicine that discusses the study more.

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