This study aimed to investigate whether a higher education level is associated with an improved long-term survival after oesophagectomy for cancer.
A prospective, population-based cohort study.
90% of all patients with oesophageal and cardia cancer who underwent a resection in Sweden in 2001–2005 were enrolled in this study (N=600; 80.3% male) and followed up until death or the end of the study period (2012). The study exposure was level of education, defined as compulsory (≤9 years), moderate (10–12 years) or high (≥13 years).
The main outcome measure was overall 5-year survival after oesophagectomy. Cox regression was used to estimate the associations between education level and mortality, expressed as HRs with 95% CIs, with adjustment for sex, age, tumour stage, histological type, complications, comorbidities and annual surgeon volume. The patient group with highest education was used as the reference category.
Among the 600 included patients, 281 (46.8%) had compulsory education, 238 (39.7%) had moderate education and 81 (13.5%) had high education. The overall 5-year survival rate was 23.1%, 24.4% and 32.1% among patients with compulsory, moderate and high education, respectively. After adjustment for confounders, a slightly higher, yet not statistically significantly increased point HR was found among the compulsory educated patients (HR 1.08, 95% CI 0.80 to 1.47). In patients with tumour stage IV, increased adjusted HRs were found for compulsory (HR 2.88, 95% CI 1.07 to 7.73) and moderately (HR 2.83, 95% CI 1.15 to 6.95) educated patients. No statistically significant associations were found for the other tumour stages.
This study provides limited evidence of an association between lower education and worse long-term survival after oesophagectomy for cancer.