Among all the topics within health news, talking about cancer deaths does not rank among the most positive. Still, an interesting new study analyzed U.S. cancer survival rates to see if they differed by gender. Answering “why” could lead to health breakthroughs in cancer treatment.
The main answer: overall cancer mortality rates are higher for men than women in the United States. The study is published in “Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.”
Investigators from the National Cancer Institute used U.S. vital rates and survival data for 36 different cancers broken down by gender and age. They assessed whether cancer mortality rates and cancer survival differed by gender.
For the majority of cancers, the news is direr for men. They are more likely to die from cancer than women, and this fact held true for the majority of specific cancers.
Results revealed five cancers with the greatest male-to-female death-rate ratios:
— Lip cancer: 5.51 men died for every one woman
— Larynx cancer: 5.37-to-one
— Hypopharynx cancer: 4.47-to-one
— Esophageal cancer: 4.08-to-one
— Urinary bladder cancer: 3.36-to-one
As well, men died more often from the most fatal cancers:
— Lung cancer: 2.31-to-one
— Colorectal cancer: 1.42-to-one
— Pancreatic cancer: 1.37-to-one
— Leukemia: 1.75-to-one
— Liver cancer: 2.23-to-one
For many cancers, men have poorer survival than women, but the differences are slight. It is difficult to figure out precise reasons, but the risk factors include differences in behavior of the tumor, cancer screening among people without symptoms, presence of other illnesses, and healthcare-seeking behaviors.
It may be that men are less frequently diagnosed with cancer. This is a burden that may be contributed to by men not seeking a doctor’s help when symptoms begin, and a
tendency to have more unhealthy lifestyle patterns. The best thing for everyone is to learn all possible cancer-preventative strategies and make them a part of your life.