While cancer survival at several sites has historically been shown to vary by education level, a current comprehensive assessment of survival following a cancer diagnosis in Sweden, a country with universal health care and cancer screening, has yet to be carried out.
Using the 2006 update of the Swedish Family-Cancer Database and Cox's proportional hazards regression methods, we calculate the adjusted hazard ratio (HR) and 95% confidence interval to estimate the influence of education level on site-specific cancer survival.
Significant positive associations between education level and cancer survival were observed following a diagnosis of upper aerodigestive track cancer, colon cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung cancer, kidney cancer, urinary bladder cancer, melanoma, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast cancer, endometrial cancer, cervical cancer, prostate cancer, and testicular cancer. Although the HRs differed between cancer sites, compared with women and men completing <9 years of education, university graduates were associated with a significant 40% improved survival for all cancer sites combined.
Survival differences by education level were observed for both indolent and aggressive malignancies.
2008. Vol. 19, no 1, 156-162 p.