Consequences of Prostate Cancer Diagnosis are Cardiovascular and Suicide Risk

Newly diagnosed men with prostate cancer face a higher risk of cardiovascular events and suicide, according to a study reported in PLoS Medicine (2009 Dec;6(12):e1000197).

The study, led by a team of researchers from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, involved 168 584 men, ≥ 30 years old, who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1961 and 2004. When information on the men's subsequent fatal and nonfatal cardiovascular events and suicides were searched, researchers found that the relative risk of cardiovascular events and suicide were elevated during the first year after prostate cancer diagnosis, particularly during the first week, with 6% of the men experiencing a cardiovascular event during the year following diagnosis and 0.08% committing suicide.

Researchers further reported that before 1987, men with prostate cancer were about 11 times as likely to have a fatal cardiovascular event during the first week after their diagnosis as men without prostate cancer. From 1987, diagnosed men were about 3 times as likely to have a cardiovascular event during the first week as undiagnosed men, and were at a slightly higher risk in the first year.

Although the absolute risk of suicide was very small for newly diagnosed men, 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 risks are highest during the first week after diagnosis and young men seem to be most vulnerable,” the authors explained. “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.”
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