Christopher Recklitis, Ph.D., M.P.H., Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Pilot Research Grant (2011): $30,000
Surviving Prostate Cancer but Succumbing to Suicide: Do Poor Health Outcomes Explain the Increased Risk?
Bio: Dr. Recklitis received his doctorate from Boston University in 1993 and his master’s in public health from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2001. He is currently the Director of Research and Education at the Perini Family Survivors’ Center of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School.
Grant research area: Prostate cancer, suicidal behavior.
Abstract: Men with prostate cancer are two to four times more likely to die by suicide compared with men who have never had prostate cancer. While the statistics clearly show this higher rate, little is known about what aspects of the cancer or health outcomes contribute to later suicide. Dr. Recklitis intends to determine whether physical health issues like pain, incontinence, and sexual problems following cancer treatment contribute to a cancer survivor’s suicidal ideation. The study involves a survey mailed to former patients of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to assess patients’ physical and mental health as well as suicidal ideation. It is expected that 500 men will participate. Dr. Recklitis’s study will be one of the first studies of suicidal ideation after prostate cancer to focus on the role of the patient’s health after treatment.
Long-term goals: To understand the role physical health problems play in suicidal ideation and behavior, which may lead to educating physicians and developing new interventions to meet prostate survivors’ needs.