Development of a protocol for assessment of suicide risk in patients with head and neck cancer

J. M. Anderson, R. Gibbison, J. A. Twigg, A. Kanatas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Head and neck cancer (HNC) is the 7th most prevalent cancer globally, with an increasing incidence in recent years which is expected to continue. For many patients, the experience of receiving a diagnosis of HNC and subsequent treatment is disturbing and traumatic. Evidence suggests that HNC patients have a significantly increased risk of suicide compared with other cancer patients and the general population. Multiple social and medical factors may increase suicide risk in an individual, and include smoking and alcohol misuse. Given the elevated rate of suicide among HNC patients it is prudent to routinely assess patients for suicidal ideation to prevent unnecessary deaths by suicide. However, to the authors’ knowledge, such assessments are not undertaken in most centres. This article describes the development of a suicide risk assessment protocol proposed for use in HNC patients in a major University Teaching Hospital in Leeds. The basic structure of this protocol could easily be adopted to other centres.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e23-e26
Number of pages4
JournalBritish Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


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