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By Rebecca Pfliger

Enrolling in university may help keep you cancer free.

A recent study published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute shows a correlation between education and cancer. The more years of learning a person has under his or her belt, the less likely he or she is to get cancer.

Unfortunately, simply attending classes and chilling at the Ram in the Rye won’t keep cancer out.

As any university student should be able to explain, correlation does not equal causation. While the study does show a strong link between the number of years spent in post secondary education and a lower cancer rate, it doesn’t explain the why.

The Journal of the National Cancer Institute, in a debriefing published with the study, analyzed the results.

The biggest explanation for the relation is that it is an American study. One of the most glaring differences between Canada and the U.S.A is universal health care.

If an individual can afford post secondary education in America, he or she can most likely afford a doctor. Where there is a doctor, there is treatment for any re-cancerous cells or lumps and bumps.

An individual with a post secondary education will also be less likely to work in the mining industry or with toxic fumes, the journal says.

According to Dr. David Hunstmen, a cancer expert from the University of British Columbia, studies such as this highlight the difference in lifestyle among economic classes and don’t prove a health trend.

Sadly, a letter of acceptance from Ryerson doesn’t guarantee a clean bill of health. But there are certain places on campus that can help.

The Health Promotion Centre at KHW 389 and provides students with a number of services that may help prevent cancer, including a stress management team. The centre also tackles the big cancer causer: smoking.

“We don’t really have an anti-smoking campaign,” says health promotion nurse Melissa Matton, “We take a stance of education. We don’t tell students to stop smoking, we just provide them with education they need depending on what stage they are in, whether it’s trying to cut back, or help a friend quit. And when they’re ready we give them education about how to quit, but we’d never force the issue.”

You also could always consider the RAC before buying a pack.

Ryerson’s Recreation and Athletic Centre offers bargain memberships for $33 a semester, and working out can be a great social activity that helps prevent cancer at the same time.

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