Men have a 35% greater risk of dying from cancer than women, according to a report by three leading organisations.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices are one of the reasons behind the greater death risk
Researchers from Cancer Research UK, the Men’s Health Forum and the National Cancer Intelligence Network looked at the most recent UK deaths from cancer.
They found that in 2010, 202 out of every 100,000 men died from cancer compared with 147 per 100,000 women.
This is a slight decrease from 2009, when men were 40% more likely than women to die as a result of cancer.
The study also showed that the difference between the sexes is even bigger when gender-specific forms of cancer are excluded. If prostate, testicular and ovarian cancers are not taken into account, men are 67% more likely to die.
The gap is wider in patients of working age. Men under the age of 65 have a 58% greater chance of dying from cancer than their female counterparts.
Researchers also found that the likelihood of death varies with different types of cancer. For example, men are twice as likely to die from liver cancer, and almost three times as likely to die of oesophageal cancer.
Many reasons have been suggested for the difference between the sexes. More men than women are diagnosed with forms of cancer which are harder to treat, like bladder, oesophagus and liver. Furthermore, breast cancer has higher survival rates than the commonest cancers in men.
Late diagnosis also plays a key part in the increased risk. According to the National Cancer Experience Survey, 24% of men with prostate cancer visited their GP at least three times before their disease was identified, compared with 8% of female breast cancer patients.
Lifestyle choices could be another reason behind the findings. Cancer Research UK predicted in 2011 that 45% of all cancers in men could be prevented if men ate a healthier diet, drank less, stopped smoking and reduced their weight.
Experts are now encouraging men to adopt healthier lifestyles, as well as calling for the NHS to diagnose cancer in men earlier.
If you want to be covered for private cancer treatment, look for a medical insurance quote with full cancer cover. This will give you access to quick diagnostic tests and scans, as well as a leading specialist of your choice.
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