University of California San Francisco
Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

Low Education Predicts Lower Quality of Life for Prostate Cancer Patients

By Steve Tokar, UCSF News Services | April 12, 2007

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).

Read more at Steve Tokar, UCSF News Services