Cancer death rates over a third higher in men than women

Cancer Research UK

Men are over 35 per cent more likely to die from cancer than women in the UK, according to a new report1 released today .

The report showed that 202 men per 100,000 died from cancer compared to 147 per 100,000 women in 2010.

And this difference is even starker when breast cancer and sex-specific cancers such as prostate, testicular and ovarian cancers are removed from the analysis – men were then 67 per cent more likely to die from the disease.

The analysis also showed that men are almost twice as likely as women to die from liver cancer and almost three times as likely to die from oesophageal cancer.

This contrast in cancer death rates between the sexes may be down to more men being diagnosed with types of cancers that are harder to treat such as cancers of the bladder, liver and oesophagus.

The report – presented at the Men’s Health Forum conference in London and produced by Cancer Research UK, the Men’s Health Forum and the National Cancer Intelligence Network – also highlighted that men of a working age, under 65, were 58 per cent more likely to die from cancers that affect both men and women.

Cancer is the leading cause of death in men in the UK with around 82,500 men losing their life to the disease every year.

Professor Alan White, chairman of the Men’s Health Forum and co-author of the report based at Leeds Metropolitan University, said: “The impact cancer has on younger men is often overlooked, but these are men whose life is cut too short by the disease. Our report highlights just how big a problem cancer is and highlights the need to understand the reasons why men are more likely to die of cancer. It’s crucial that the NHS leads the way in taking a more proactive approach to prevent men both getting and dying from cancer prematurely.

“The Men’s Health Forum is campaigning for a better explanation for these differences and more male-focused cancer prevention work so that fewer men are struck down by cancer.”

Research has previously shown that more than 40 per cent of cancers in men could be prevented by changes to lifestyle. A second report, also released today at the conference by Cancer Research UK, highlights the impact various lifestyle factors have on a man’s risk of developing cancer. It shows that smoking remains the largest preventable cause of cancer, responsible for 36,500 cancers in men every year.

After smoking, being overweight, drinking alcohol and poor diets are the most important causes of cancer in men.

Catherine Thomson, Cancer Research UK’s head of statistics and co-author of the reports, said: “Our work highlights the cancer toll for men across the UK. This needs action and Cancer Research UK is supporting a range of research into men’s cancers. We’re one of the UK’s largest funders of research into prostate and testicular cancers and this work is leading to new and better treatments.

“Men can help stack the odds of avoiding cancer in their favour by quitting smoking, cutting down on alcohol and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.”

ENDS

For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8300 or, out of hours, on 07050 264 059.

Notes to Editor

1. The two reports will be available from here early on the morning of the 29 January.