University Education Linked With The Risk Of Brain Tumour

People with a university education of more than three years are found to be more likely to discover a glioma—a type of cancerous tumour arising the cells around neurons - than those with only primary education.

The results obtained from 4 305 265 individuals born in Sweden during 1911–1961 showed that men have 22% and women have 23% increased risk of glioma compared to their peers with primary education.

Men and women in intermediate and higher non-manual occupations had increased risk of glioma compared to low manual groups. Men in non-manual occupations had 50% increased risk of acoustic neuroma compared to men in low manual occupations.

Dr Amal Khanolkar, institute of Child Health, University College London, said: “This is an observational study based on national registers, so it is very hard to speculate on potential mechanisms that we couldn’t really study.

“We have no reason to believe that stress is a potential risk factor, which perhaps is more common among people of lower socioeconomic position so it wouldn’t explain the findings.

“Both detection bias and completeness of cancer registration in the national cancer register might be potential explanations for our findings.

“There is no evidence suggesting that typical lifestyle factors generally adjusted for in epidemiological studies such smoking and physical activity are linked to brain tumours.

 “We are in the process of updating the database, and our next step will be to investigate ethnic differences in risk for brain tumours as well as potential differences in survival from brain tumours.”

The study was published in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.


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