Parental education affects survival of children’s cancer patients

A new study shows a strong association of the educational level of parents and the survial of their children diagnosed with central nervous (cns) tumours. The overall surval of children with parents in the highest educational level was up to 20% higher when compared with children from parents with less schooling.

Using data from the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry and the Swiss census, the researchers explored the unclear role of socioeconomic status (SES) in childhood cancer survival in Switzerland, a country with mandatory health insurance and a high-class health care system. By design, they overcame limitations of earlier studies, looking specifically at several tumor groups and applying several definitions of SES (parental education, living room per person, area-based SES index).

They found a never shown, large, significant socioeconomic gap in 5-year mortality in Swiss children with CNS tumors, with mortality be almost twice as high in children from not well-educated fathers. Complete elimination of these differences would strongly improve survival and lead to an overall 5-year survival of 75% for CNS tumors, the risk observed in the least deprived socioeconomic group. The published article in the international journal of cancer underscores the notion to standardize cancer therapy protocols for all tumors and the need for universal access to optimal cancer treatment for all patients even in an affluent country like Switzerland.

The study was led by Dr. Martin Adam from the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute and by Professor Claudia Kuehni, head of the Swiss Childhood Cancer Registry. The study was a collaboration of the Swiss Childhood cancer Registry, the Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine Bern, the Swiss Paediatric Oncology Group and the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute.

Link to the article:


Corresponding Author:

Dr. Martin Adam, Swiss TPH

Email: martin.adam anti spam bot @unibas anti spam

back to list