Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Low Education Predicts Lower Quality Of Life For Prostate Cancer Patients

Date:
April 13, 2007
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Among men who have received similar treatments for prostate cancer, those with less education ---- particularly those who did not graduate from high school ---- experience a significant drop in their quality of life after treatment compared with men who have more education.

Among men who have received similar treatments for prostate cancer, those with less education ---- particularly those who did not graduate from high school ---- experience a significant drop in their quality of life after treatment compared with men who have more education, according to a study led by researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center (SFVAMC).

"These men did not start out with a lower quality of life before cancer," says lead author Sara J. Knight, PhD, a staff psychologist at SFVAMC. "What's surprising is that after treatment, they have clinically significant problems across the board ---- mental and emotional as well as physical ---- in managing their lives."

The authors acknowledge that low educational level is often associated with lower income, which can lead to lower quality of life, but stress that for the men in their study, low education alone was associated with lower quality of life, irrespective of income. "In our analysis, it's their lower educational level that has made them more vulnerable to the effects of prostate cancer and its treatment," says Knight, who is also an assistant professor of psychiatry and urology at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF).

The researchers analyzed the results of a self-reported quality-of-life survey completed by 248 patients who were diagnosed with prostate cancer between 1989 and 2002 and treated at three Veterans Affairs medical centers. Treatments included surgery, radiation therapy, hormone therapy, and observation or "watchful waiting."

After adjusting for a host of factors including severity and stage of cancer, treatment, age, education, income, marital status, and other diseases, the researchers found that men without high school diplomas "experienced greater decline and less recovery" during the first year after prostate cancer treatment across a wide variety of domains, including physical, emotional, and social functioning, vitality, mental health, general health, urinary function, and sexual function.

"More generally, the lower your educational level, the greater the likelihood that you would have a lower quality of life after diagnosis and treatment," says Knight. She points out a key aspect of the study: The subjects, as VA patients, all had equal access to the same quality of health care. "Since health care access is a key factor in predicting health outcomes, it's significant that we were able to control for this variable," she says.

The good news, she says, is that clinicians across the country can immediately begin to identify and help prostate cancer patients who are at greater risk for poor quality of life. "We can identify these men by their educational levels, ask them what difficulties they're having in managing their day-to-day lives, and try to provide them with the appropriate resources." She notes that VA medical centers offer a broad range of counseling and referral services to help veterans with mental, emotional, career, and other problems.

Knight says that the study is "as far as we know, the first to emphasize the impact of educational level on quality of life after prostate cancer treatment, as opposed to health literacy, a much more narrow measure which we've known for some time has an effect on health outcomes."

The study authors indicate they do not know why education plays such a large role in determining quality of life after prostate cancer treatment. One reason, they say, might be that "even in an equal-access health care system" such as the VA, men with less education have more trouble understanding educational materials about prostate cancer, its treatment, and post-treatment management, which in turn may lead to poorer disease management, greater worry, and greater difficulty adjusting to life as a cancer survivor.

"If that's the case, then we can begin to address the problem by creating educational materials that are better targeted to men with less education," says Knight.

She says another possible explanation is economic: "Men with less education might, indeed, have fewer financial resources, so prostate cancer is going to have a greater negative impact on their lives. For example, if you're driving a cab or working on a delivery truck, urinary dysfunction can become extremely disabling. It's hard to manage your symptoms, take breaks, and get enough rest when you're worried about keeping your job."

Knight stresses that, thanks to today's effective treatments, "men with prostate cancer can live a long time. If these problems go unaddressed, these men will have a much worse time over the course of their lives."

The researchers caution that because their study is based on results from only three VA medical centers, additional research will be needed to determine if the results can be generalized to all VA patients or to men in general.

Co-authors of the study are David M. Latini, PhD, of Baylor University and the Houston VA Medical Center; Stacey L. Hart, PhD, of SFVAMC and UCSF; Natalia Sadetsky, MD, MPH, of UCSF; Christopher J. Kane, MD, of SFVAMC and UCSF; Janeen DuChane, PhD, of Baxter International, Inc.; and Peter R. Carrol, MD, of UCSF. Patients in the study were enrolled in Cancer of the Prostate Strategic Urologic Research Endeavor (CaPSURE), a nationwide longitudinal observational study of prostate cancer patients. Carroll is principal investigator of CaPSURE and Sadetsky is a CaPSURE investigator.

The paper is available in the on-line Early View section of the journal Cancer. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and UCSF. CaPSURE is supported by TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Low Education Predicts Lower Quality Of Life For Prostate Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 April 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070412174213.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2007, April 13). Low Education Predicts Lower Quality Of Life For Prostate Cancer Patients. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070412174213.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Low Education Predicts Lower Quality Of Life For Prostate Cancer Patients." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/04/070412174213.htm (accessed September 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Ebola Costs Keep Mounting

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 23, 2014) The WHO has warned up to 20,000 people could be infected with Ebola over the next few weeks. As Sonia Legg reports, the implications for the West African countries suffering from the disease are huge. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

WHO: Ebola Cases to Triple in Weeks Without Drastic Action

AFP (Sep. 23, 2014) The number of Ebola infections will triple to 20,000 by November, soaring by thousands every week if efforts to stop the outbreak are not stepped up radically, the WHO warned in a study on Tuesday. Duration: 01:01 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

5 Ways Men Can Prevent Most Heart Attacks

Newsy (Sep. 23, 2014) No surprise here: A recent study says men can reduce their risk of heart attack by maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which includes daily exercise. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

Liberia Pleads for Help to Fight Ebola

AP (Sep. 22, 2014) Liberia's finance minister is urging the international community to quickly follow through on pledges of cash to battle Ebola. Bodies are piling up in the capital Monrovia as the nation awaits more help. (Sept. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins