Higher breast cancer death rates among educated women
We might think that breast cancer deaths may be lower in highly educated women, but the opposite is true. Findings from a study conducted by Norwegian researchers have shown that the death rates from breast cancer are higher among highly educated women. The researchers do not have an obvious explanation for this finding.
Researchers initially were thinking that the higher death rates from breast cancer in highly educated women may be related to the tendency of highly educated women to have fewer children, but this was found to not to be true. The increased death rates among highly educated breast cancer patient applicable to women with children and women without children.
The research was conducted by Bjorn Heine and colleagues from Strand of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. It is a know fact that bearing children early can protect against breast cancer, but this study has clearly showed that education levels play a role in whether the cancer will be deadly independent of the number of children the educated women may have.
The researchers found that the death rates are 25 to 57 percent higher among highly educated women compared to the general population. The study involved all women between the ages of 35 and 54 who lived in Norway in 1990, which is a total of more than half-a-million. Death rates of those with breast cancer were followed up in 2001.
When the researchers compared the death rates between highly educated women and those with only obligatory schooling the difference in death rate was even more evident. When women without children were compared, the death rate among those with higher education was 57 percent higher than those without college or university degrees.
What is causing this increased death rate among highly educated women?
The researchers have no good explanation for these apparent anomalous findings. Normally one would expect the highly educated women would be more conscious of breast cancer risks, which would result in lower death rates. However the opposite is true as per the findings from the Norwegian Researchers. Norway's national cancer association is hoping to have more research in to this matter.
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