Men less likely to survive cancer

By | October 29, 2018

MEN are less likely than women to survive several different types of cancer, Australian research shows.

Men were found to have lower five-year survival rates than women for cancers of the head and neck, oesophagus, colon/rectum, pancreas, lung, bone, ­melanoma, mesothelioma, kidney, thyroid and non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

For women, survival rates were lower than men for cancers of the bladder, renal, pelvis or ureter.

The study by researchers from Cancer Council Victoria and ­the University of Melbourne looked at survival rates for 25 types of ­cancer, with 12 found to have no differences between the sexes in terms of survival rates.

While gender has been acknowledged by previous studies as being an important factor in the prognosis of some cancers, few large-scale studies have investigated whether a person’s sex has any impact on their chances of surviving cancer.

The study used data from 240,801 men and 173,773 women on Victoria’s cancer registry between 1982 and 2015.

Non-melanoma skin cancer, sex-specific cancers, breast cancer and cancers notified via autopsy and death certificate were excluded from the study. The researchers found that the five-year net survival for the 25 cancer types combined was lower for men than women, and the excess rate of death due to cancer was 13 per cent higher for men.

Lead researcher Nina Afshar said men had worse survival rates than women for many cancers, particularly at middle age.

She said while there were some theories about why men had worse survival rates than women in some cases – including the stage the cancer was at when they were diagnosed and health-related lifestyle behaviours – more work was needed so survival rates could improve for everyone.

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“Identifying and understanding the complex mechanisms behind sex differences in cancer survival will help to establish effective interventions to reduce inequalities and improve cancer outcomes for both men and women,” Ms Afshar said.

The study was published in the journal Cancer Causes & Control.

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