UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Population-based comparison of cancer survival outcomes in patients with and without psychiatric disorders Benny, Alexander; McLay, Mary; Callaghan, Russell C.; Bates, Alan; Olson, Robert


Background Individuals with psychiatric disorders (PD) have a high prevalence of tobacco use. Patients with PD also potentially receive substandard care in comparison to the general population. Previous research has shown that individuals with PD have a decreased risk of receiving a tobacco related (TR) cancer diagnosis. To further assess this trend, this study assesses the survival of patients with a TR cancer with or without a PD. Materials and methods Our study utilized multiple databases, with methods described elsewhere,6 to identify people in British Columbia that have been diagnosed with psychiatric disorders and appendicitis (our control group). From these groups, we selected individuals who also had a TR cancer. We subsequently extracted information pertaining to these patients from these databases. Results Thirty-nine thousand eight hundred forty-one patients with cancer were included in our study. Analyses of these patients were controlled for by age, gender, cancer type and diagnosis year. This analysis displayed shorter survival time among patients who were diagnosed with depression (HR = 1.16; p = 0.01; 95% CI: 1.04–1.29), schizophrenia (HR = 1.62; p < 0.01; 95% CI: 1.43–1.84), or bipolar disorder (HR = 1.35; p < 0.01; 95% CI: 1.12–1.64) compared to the cancer patients without a PD, all of which were statistically significant. People that were diagnosed with anxiety disorders did not have a survival time that was significantly different from our control population (HR = 1.07; p = 0.22; 95% CI: 0.96–1.19). Conclusions Individuals with PD, except for those with anxiety, were found to have a shorter survival time following diagnosis with a TR cancer as compared to our control group. We hypothesize several factors, which may account for this statistically significant difference: (1) delayed diagnosis, (2) poor access to care, (3) poor assessment or follow-up, or (4) physician beliefs of poor treatment adherence.

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Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)