Objective: Major depression is a well-documented risk factor for suicide, and several gender differences in risk factors for suicide exist in cancer patients as well as in the general population. However, no data is available regarding gender differences in risk factors for suicide among cancer patients with major depression.
Methods: We investigated the background differences between cancer patients suffering from major depression with or without suicidal ideation according to gender by analyzing the consultation data obtained for patients referred to the Psychiatry Division.
Results: Among the 5431 referred patients, 329 males and 399 females were diagnosed as having major depression; among these patients with major depression, 136 (41%) males and 157 (39%) females also had suicidal ideation. A preliminary analysis showed that physical functioning and an advanced stage were potential factors that interacted significantly with gender differences regarding suicidal ideation. A final logistic regression analysis indicated that poor physical functioning and an advanced stage were significant risk factors among male patients.
Conclusions: These preliminary findings suggest that gender differences in important indicators of suicidal ideation exist among cancer patients with major depression; these findings may be useful for developing strategies to prevent suicide among cancer patients. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.