July 13, 2011- According to recent analysis of 36 different blood cancers and tumors that affect the two sexes, men are more apt than women to get and then die from cancer. Leukemia and cancers of the pancreas, colon and rectum and liver killed close to two times the number of men as they did women over a 30 year period in the United States. Lung cancer also killed close to 2.5 times the number of men than woman in that same time period.
The American Cancer Society now estimates that men have a 50% chance of developing some type of cancer at some point during their lives compared to women who are estimated to have a 33% chance. The reason for the disparity is unknown but may partially be due to the type of lifestyle men normally have with more smoking and drinking and going to see the doctor less along with fewer cancer screenings.
Doctors know that some cancers have a genetic predisposition and are unavoidable but there are other things that are controllable. Many more women have earlier stage cancers when diagnosed and that may be because more women get symptoms checked out than men.
The author of the study, Michael B. Cook, Ph.D, says that men’s greater exposure to certain risk factors like drinking and smoking will explain some of the difference but not all. He feels if the medical world can identify the modifiable causes of the sex differences in cancer mortality and incidence then certain preventative actions would in turn reduce the overall numbers for both sexes.