TUESDAY, July 12 (HealthDay News) -- Men in the United States are much more likely than women to die of cancer, a new report from the U.S. National Cancer Institute found.
Gender differences in cancer incidence -- more men than women develop cancer in the first place -- rather than differences in cancer survival appeared to drive the findings, the researchers said.
"If we can identify modifiable causes of sex difference in cancer incidence and mortality then preventative actions could reduce the cancer burden in both men and women," said lead researcher Michael B. Cook, a National Cancer Institute epidemiologist.
Cook said that for many cancers, male and female incidence rates, and by extension death rates, have changed disproportionately over time.
This is likely because of differences in "carcinogenic exposures, metabolism and susceptibility," he said. Increased rates of smoking among men, and differences in infections, hormones and contact with toxic metals may all come into play, he said.
In terms of survival, however, the gender gap was minimal, the researchers found.
The study is published in the August issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.
To look for gender differences in cancer deaths and survival rates, Cook's team used information from the NCI's Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results database, which includes information on survival and deaths for 36 different cancers.
Lip cancer, for example, killed 5.51 men for every 1 woman. Larynx cancer claimed the lives of 5.37 men for every 1 woman; throat cancer, 4.47 men for each woman; and urinary bladder cancer, 3.36 men per 1 woman.
Examining cancers with the highest death rates overall, the researchers again found higher mortality among men than women. For example, lung and bronchus cancer killed 2.31 men for every 1 woman. Liver cancer killed 2.23 m
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