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Study: Men more at risk of getting cancer due to this

Men had a higher risk of most cancers even after considering a wide range of lifestyle factors and exposure to carcinogens.


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By Danny Halpin via SWNS

Men may be more at risk of cancer than women due to biological differences rather than lifestyle factors such as smoking and drinking, suggests new research.

Understanding the reasons for differences in cancer risk between the sexes could help to improve prevention and treatment, scientists say.

In men in the UK, there are 193,000 cases of cancer each year and 182,000 in women, according to Cancer Research UK.

Dr. Sarah Jackson of the National Cancer Institute said: “Our results show that there are differences in cancer incidence that are not explained by environmental exposures alone.

“This suggests that there are intrinsic biological differences between men and women that affect susceptibility to cancer.”

Publishing their work in the journal CANCER, the team assessed differences in cancer risk for each of the 21 cancer sites in the body among 171,274 males and 122,826 females aged 50-71 who were participating in a diet and health study between 1995 and 2011.

During that time there were 17,951 new cancers in men and 8,742 in women. There were less cases for men only for thyroid and gallbladder cancers and the risks were 1.3 to 10.8 times higher in men than women at other anatomic sites.

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The greatest increased risks in men were seen for oesophageal cancer (10.8 times higher), larynx (3.5 times higher), gastric cardia (3.5 times higher) and bladder cancer (3.3 times higher).

Men had a higher risk of most cancers even after considering a wide range of lifestyle factors and exposure to carcinogens.

In fact, researchers found that these factors only accounted for a modest proportion of most cancers, ranging from 11 percent for oesophageal to 50 percent for lung cancer.

The findings suggest that biological differences such as physiological, immunological, genetic or others play a major role in forming susceptibility to cancer between the sexes.

In an accompanying editorial to the study, the authors explained how to address the disparity.

They wrote: “Strategically including sex as a biological variable should be enforced along the whole cancer continuum from risk prediction and cancer primary prevention, cancer screening and secondary prevention, to cancer treatment and patient management.

“Examining and addressing sex disparities in cancer and other diseases is an ongoing quest.

“Bench to bedside translational studies which effectively transform the existing research findings into clinical practice is a scalable means within easy reach to achieve precision medicine and will mitigate – and may ultimately eradicate – sex disparities in cancer.”

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