Educational disparities in cancer incidence, stage, and survival in Oslo

This study aimed to examine disparities in cancer incidence, stage at diagnosis, and survival rates across districts with differences in education levels in Oslo, Norway.


Aggregated data from the Cancer Registry of Norway in the period 2013-2021 were used to describe the distribution of cancer incidence and survival across Oslo’s 15 administrative districts, subsequently grouped into three areas based on the population’s level of education. Age-standardised incidence rates and five-year relative survival were calculated for colon, rectal, lung, melanoma, breast, and prostate cancer. The stage at the time of diagnosis was categorised as localised, regional, distant, and unknown for all cancer types except breast cancer, which was categorised into stage I-IV and unknown.


Mid- and high-education areas had higher incidences of breast, melanoma, and prostate cancer, while the low-education area had higher incidence rates for lung cancer. The low-education area had a higher proportion diagnosed at a distant stage than the other groups for all cancer types studied, except breast cancer. The mid- and high-education areas had higher five-year relative survival rates overall.


Incidence, stage at diagnosis, and survival varied between education areas. The variation indicates disparities in healthcare access, quality of care, and health behaviours. Addressing these disparities can help improve overall health outcomes and promote health equity.