Patients with cancer are at increased risk for both suicidal ideation and completed suicide due to a combination of biological and psychological factors that must be addressed to increase quality of life.,Unique to cancer is that the risk of suicide persists more than 15 years past diagnosis.4

In addition to increased suicide risk, patients with head and neck cancers have higher depression scores than the general population even before a cancer diagnosis, leading to the question whether this subset of patients are struggling with a biological cause in addition to diagnosis-related symptoms.5 Complicating these cases is the well-known association of many head and neck cancers with tobacco, alcohol, and other substance use, leading to the question of whether the pre-existing mood disorders lead to substance use that increases the risk of cancer.,Depression is a major risk factor, as it is in the general population, but the cancer population is at higher baseline risk for depression, which has been linked to immunological changes.12 Identification and treatment of depression in cancer patients has been shown to decrease morbidity and mortality.13 read more