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College-Educated Fare Better When Cancer Strikes
Date:7/8/2008

They've gained most from recent advances in treatment, survival, study finds

TUESDAY, July 8 (HealthDay News) - Recent U.S. declines in deaths from the four most common cancers -- lung, colorectal, prostate and breast -- are primarily benefiting better educated Americans, new research from the American Cancer Society shows.

While deaths from these malignancies did drop significantly from 1993 to 2001, most of that decline occurred among men and women with college degrees, the team found.

"Everybody has not been benefiting from advances in prevention and treatment of cancer," contends lead researcher Dr. Ahmedin Jemal, director of the Society's Cancer Occurrence Office.

"The decrease in cancer deaths is mostly confined to the most educated men and women," Jamal said. "For those less educated men and women, those rates are either stable or for some cancers has been increasing," he said.

The report was published July 8 in the online edition of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

In the study, Jemal's team collected data on cancer deaths between 1993 and 2001 from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics.

The researchers found a significant drop in mortality from prostate, lung and colorectal cancer, for black and white men with 16 or more years of education (high school plus at least a 4-year college degree).

Death rates also declined among black and white women with 16 years of education or more for colorectal, breast and lung cancer. However, the drop in lung cancer death rates was not statistically significant among black women.

Among women with less than 12 years of education, only white women showed a significant decrease in deaths from breast cancer.

Over the same period, deaths from lung cancer among less educated white women actually increased, the study found. There was also a rise in deaths from colon cancer among less e
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