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Study links education to risk of cancer death
Date:9/11/2007

A new American Cancer Society study finds having at least some education beyond high school is associated with a decreased risk of cancer death. The study finds higher education levels were strongly associated with decreased cancer mortality among black men, white men, and white women. The difference in mortality for all groups was greatest between those with 12 or fewer years of education and those with more than 12 years.

Previous studies have found that death rates are higher among people with less education, but the current study is the first to analyze mortality by race/ethnicity, and is the first to look at the four major causes of cancer death. Led by Jessica Albano, MPH, Society researchers found that death rates for all cancers combined as well as for lung, colorectal, breast, and prostate cancers were strongly associated with years of education in white men, black men, and white women.

For all cancer sites combined, death rates among white and black men with the lowest (0-8 years) level of education were about three times higher than those with the highest (17+ years) level of education. At every level of education, death rates were higher for black than white men. Relationships between level of education and cancer death rates were weaker for women than for men, and also weaker for black women compared to white women. Nonetheless, cancer death rates were significantly higher among black women with 12 or fewer years of education compared to those with more education.

Several findings of the study were new and notable. A very strong relationship between years of education and prostate cancer was found for black men. Although level of education was strongly associated with prostate cancer mortality in both black and white men, at each level of education death rates for black men were substantially higher than those for white men. Also, the study for the first time found white women with higher levels of education had lower bre
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Contact: David Sampson
david.sampson@cancer.org
American Cancer Society
Source:Eurekalert

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