Men May Be More Likely Than Women To Die From Most Cancers

The Seattle Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13, Daza) reports that “men are at higher risk than women of developing cancer within their lifetime, and astudy Share to FacebookShare to Twitter ” published in the journal Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention “shows they are also more likely to die from it.” Michael Cook, lead investigator and researcher at the National Institutes of Health, and colleagues “examined 36 types of cancer by gender, using almost 30 years of data, from 1977 and 2006.”

The CNN Share to FacebookShare to Twitter /Health.com (7/13, McMillen) reports, “Leukemia and cancers of the colon and rectum, pancreas, and liver killed about one and a half to two times as many men as women in the US over” the “30-year period.” The researchers also found that “lung cancer killed nearly two and a half times as many men during that time.”

Reuters Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/13) reports that the major explanation for the disparity is that females face a lower risk of developing cancer, compared to males, Cook contends.

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Walsh) reported that the investigators “found that there had been some changes over time, such as decreases in the male-to-female ratios in lung, laryngeal, and pancreatic cancers but increases in esophageal, skin, and hepatic cancers.” The researchers “also found changes in mortality by age.” For instance, “for skin cancer, the male-to-female mortality ratio has increased in patients 50 and older, because mortality has increased in men but remained stable in women.”

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Hendrick) reported that “the highest male-to-female death rate ratios were 5.51 men for every woman for lip cancer, 5.37 to 1 for cancer of the larynx, and 4.47 to 1 for cancer of the hypopharynx.” Meanwhile, “three cancers had a higher death rate in women than men: gallbladder cancer, anal cancer, and cancer of the peritoneum, omentum, and mesentery.” HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Reinberg) also covered the story.

Cancer Researchers Advocate Updating Family Histories Often. The Los Angeles Times Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Roan) “Booster Shots” blog reported that when it comes to determining a person’s risk of cancer and need for screening, “family history needs to updated every five or 10 years,” according to a study Share to FacebookShare to Twitter published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Researchers “looked at thousands of adults with a personal or family history of cancer and found that many changes in one’s family history of breast, colorectal and prostate cancer occur between age 30 and 50,” and important changes could be missed if the patient’s family history is not updated accordingly. The blog entry also pointed out that “the frequency of cancer screening tests has become a topic of debate in recent years as medical experts try to balance the benefits of screening against the potential risks and costs.”

HealthDay Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Mann) quoted Massachusetts General Hospital researcher Dianne M. Finkelstein, who recommended that “if anyone in your family gets cancer, you should know the age when they were diagnosed and the original site of the cancer,” since “this information changes the doctor’s strategy…and they may find any cancer earlier, which may change the outcome.”

MedPage Today Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Smith) provided some details illustrating the changing family histories and risks as patients age. For instance, “At age 30, 2.1% of participants met the criteria for high-risk screening for colorectal cancer, compared with 7.1% at age 50. For breast cancer, the rates were 7.2% at age 30 and 11.4% at age 50. And for prostate cancer, the rates were 0.9% at 30 and 2% at age 50.” The study was supported by the National Cancer Institute.

WebMD Share to FacebookShare to Twitter (7/12, Boyle) reported that Finkelstein said that “after the age of 50 family history becomes less important because screening is recommended for everyone.”

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