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Cancer diagnosis itself may be risk

  • April 7, 2012 - 5:31 PM

Cancer can kill long before malignant tumors take their toll, new research shows. A study involving more than 6 million Swedes reveals that the risk of suicide and cardiovascular death increases immediately after a cancer diagnosis.

Within the first week of being told they had cancer, patients were 12.6 times more likely to commit suicide than people of similar backgrounds who were cancer-free. The newly diagnosed patients were also 5.6 times more likely to die from a heart attack or other cardiovascular complication in those first seven days, said a study published the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers examined the records of 6,073,240 people born in Sweden. More serious forms of cancer seemed to correlate with the highest risks of suicide. And those younger than 55 saw their risk of cardiovascular death rise by a factor of 11.9 during the first four weeks after receiving a diagnosis, compared with a 5.2-fold increased risk for those between the ages of 65 and 74. This may be in part because older patients would be more likely to have preexisting heart conditions and more likely to be on the alert for them, researchers said.

Sleep disorders linked to depression

Snorting and stopping breathing during sleep are associated with depression, even in people whose symptoms do not meet the criteria for a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, said a study in April's journal Sleep.

Researchers studied 9,714 men and women participating in a national health survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among those with obstructive sleep apnea, depression was more than twice as common among men and more than five times as common among women, compared with those who did not have the condition.

But researchers also found that those whose partners reported that they snorted or stopped breathing during sleep were also significantly more likely to have depression.

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