Cancer Death Rates Higher In Men Than In Women, Report Suggests

29/01/2013 12:27

Cancer death rates in the UK are more than a third higher in men than in women, a new report says.

The stark contrast between the sexes is revealed in latest survival figures from 2010.

In that year, 202 men per 100,000 died from cancer compared with 147 women per 100,000 - a 35% difference.

When gender-specific diseases, such as prostate and breast cancer, were excluded, men were 67% more likely to die.

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Liver cancer death rates were twice as high in men, who also faced triple the risk of being killed by oesophageal cancer.

The difference may partly be explained by men developing hard-to-treat cancers such as those affecting the bladder, oesophagus and liver, according to the charity Cancer Research UK which produced the figures.

Each year around 82,500 men in the UK lose their lives to cancer, making it the leading cause of death in the male population.

The findings were presented on Tuesday at the Men's Health Forum conference in London.

Professor Alan White, from Leeds Metropolitan University, chairman of the Forum and co-author of the report, said: "The impact cancer has on younger men is often overlooked, but these are men whose life is cut too short by the disease.

"Our report highlights just how big a problem cancer is and highlights the need to understand the reasons why men are more likely to die of cancer. It's crucial that the NHS leads the way in taking a more proactive approach to prevent men both getting and dying from cancer prematurely.

"The Men's Health Forum is campaigning for a better explanation for these differences and more male-focused cancer prevention work so that fewer men are struck down by cancer."

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A second report, presented at the same meeting by Cancer Research UK, showed that smoking remains the largest preventable cause of cancer in men, leading to 36,500 cases of new disease each year.

After smoking, being overweight, drinking alcohol and poor diet are the most important cancer risk factors for men.

Catherine Thomson, Cancer Research UK's head of statistics and an author of both reports, said: "Our work highlights the cancer toll for men across the UK. This needs action and Cancer Research UK is supporting a range of research into men's cancers.

"We're one of the UK's largest funders of research into prostate and testicular cancers and this work is leading to new and better treatments.

"Men can help stack the odds of avoiding cancer in their favour by quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables."

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