Cancer survival rates low for those with serious mental illnesses
By Traci Pedersen
Individuals with severe mental illness are less likely to survive cancer than those without a mental disorder, according to a new study by King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry (IoP).
The study, published in the journal BMJ Open, suggests that the problems occur during care (rather than because of a late diagnosis or screening), and it reveals the health inequalities faced by people with mental illness.
In general, people with serious mental illness (SMI), including bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder, have a life expectancy 15-20 years lower than those without mental illness.
Premature death among people with mental health problems is often due to poor physical health. Conditions such as cancer or heart disease are significantly more common than suicide or violence.
The findings showed that people with SMI had a 74 percent higher risk of death over the four to five year follow-up period compared to cancer patients with no history of mental illness.
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