Education and breast cancer survival

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The study shows that university graduates were 44% and 28% more likely to be diagnosed with carcinoma in situ and invasive breast cancers, respectively, than those who receive only less than nine years of education, respectively. However, breast cancer patients with college education are 32% more likely to survive than those with less education.

The possible interpretation for these observations is, university educated women are more likely to follow a lifestyle that may increase risk of breast cancer, compared to those receiving less education.

And college educated breast cancer patients are more likely to survive from breast cancer possibly because they have better financial support and or other resources available to help them fight the disease, and they are more likely to make an informed decision as to how treatments they want to receive.

Not all treatments are the same. And also a patient’s diet and nutritional status can play a critical role in the cancer patient’s survival.  It is possible that well educated breast cancer patients are more likely to adopt a diet that help them fight their disease.

Shehnaz K. Hussain, Andrea Altieri, Jan Sundquist, Kari Hemminki, Influence of education level on breast cancer risk and survival in Sweden between 1990 and 2004, International Journal of Cancer : Epidemiology, first published on 26 October 2007.

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