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Cancer: men 35% more likely to die

Survival rates may be up but cancer still kills about 3,000 people every single week and most of them are men.

According to a new report, men are over 35% more likely to die from cancer than women in the UK. And this difference is even starker when breast cancer and sex-specific cancers such as prostate and ovarian are removed from the analysis – men were then 67% more likely to die.

The report Excess Cancer Burden in Men produced by the MHF, Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Intelligence Network was presented at the MHF's expert round-table in London and also highlighted that younger men, under 65, were at particular risk. They are 58% more likely to die from cancers that affect both men and women.

MHF chair Professor Alan White of Leeds Metropolitan University co-authored the report. He 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 cancers that affect both them and women.

'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.'

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. Taking a more proactive approach to the prevention of cancer in men would be an important step in meeting the first objective of the new NHS Mandate, which is to prevent premature death.


Lifestyle factors

But there is some good news for men. In 2011 a Cancer Research UK report found 40% per cent of cancers were caused by lifestyle. A second report, also released today 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 in men, responsible for nearly a quarter - 23% - of all cancers in men.

It is also estimated that 11% of cancer in men may be linked diet. A diet low in fruit and vegetables is a risk factor for oesophageal and lung cancers while bowel cancer risk is increased by eating red and processed meat and by eating a low fibre diet.

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.

'There are also some simple lifestyle changes men can make to reduce their risk of developing cancer – not smoking, cutting down on alcohol and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables are all ways in which men can cut their risk of cancer.'

Page created on January 25th, 2013

Page updated on January 29th, 2013