American men with cancer more likely to die than women

LOS ANGELES Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:27pm EDT

A cigarette hangs from a man's hand in a file photo. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

A cigarette hangs from a man's hand in a file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Damir Sagolj

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Men who are diagnosed with cancer are more likely to die from the disease than women, due to a higher initial risk and later detection, U.S. government research showed.

The National Cancer Institute study looked at a database of 36 different types of cancer from 1977 to 2006.

It found the highest male-to-female mortality rate ratios for cancers like lip, where 5.5 men died for each woman patient, and esophageal, where 4 men died for each woman patient.

For lung cancer, which is the leading cause of cancer deaths for both men and women, the research found 2.3 male deaths for each female death.

The main reason for the difference is that men are more at risk of developing cancer to begin with, according to Michael Cook, an investigator in the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the NCI and the study's lead investigator.

The average lifetime chance that a man will develop lung cancer is about 1 in 13, compared to 1 in 16 for a woman, according to the American Cancer Society.

American men are more likely than women to have advanced disease by the time their cancer is diagnosed, Cook said.

He said gender differences in exposure to carcinogens -- including tobacco smoke and viral infections -- play a role in the rate disparity. The study also cited "universal" mechanisms, such as sex chromosomes and hormones, that may contribute to observed sex differences in cancer incidence.

The NCI researchers said there was no single root cause for the rate disparity, but influences include differences in behavior of the tumor, cancer screening for people without symptoms, presence of other illnesses and whether patients sought healthcare services.

A recent survey conducted by Abbott Laboratories found that 28 percent of men do not visit the doctor regularly.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley)

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Comments (3)
GaryMarshall2 wrote:
Regardless of any additional male predisposition to specific cancers, male to female mortality ratio’s of 4:1 for oesophageal cancer and over 2:1 for lung cancer are alarming in the extreme. Maybe that’ll act as a wake up call for the, ‘28 percent of men who do not visit the doctor regularly.’

Jul 12, 2011 3:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
EveDeVubbet wrote:
Sad part is many of the cancers are self inflicted…smoking…which
I believe caused my father’s horrible death in 1956.

That, and given the fact that men are too “SHY” to get the colonoscopy
to find and remove cancers in the colon.. are not tested for prostate
cancer and generally neglect their health…causes many deaths which
could be avoided. The “MANLY” I’m too tough syndrome has doomed many.

Jul 12, 2011 3:26pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
afkbrad wrote:
If the story were reversed and it said more women than men were dying of cancer there’d be an uproar. Women’s groups would be marching on Washington demanding more money and government interference. However, since it’s men dying everyone has no problem blaming men for not going to the doctor even when their cancers are more deadly.

Why did the NFL make their players wear pink ribbons in support of helping cure breast cancer when colon cancer is deadlier than breast cancer? Women’s groups would probably have a heart attack if the NFL wore ribbons for men’s cancer and didn’t include them. In our society today men can be lambasted and blamed for everything with nary a whimper from the media and political groups.

Jul 15, 2011 5:31am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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