Cancer death risk 70% higher in men

'Stiff upper lip' and lifestyle raise the danger of men dying from cancer by 70%, doctors have warned...

Unhealthy lifestyles and a ‘stiff upper lip’ attitude make men up to 70 per cent more likely to die from cancer than women, doctors have warned.

Overall, men are 16 per cent more likely to develop cancer than women and 40 per cent more likely to die from it. And their reluctance to visit a GP was given as a major reason for the higher risk after an analysis of cancer records.

But when breast, prostate and other forms of the disease that affect one sex more than the other are taken out of the equation, the gap becomes even wider.  

Men are then 62 per cent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and 69 per cent more likely to die from it, the journal European Urology Supplements reports. The figures were uncovered by Cancer Research UK and the National Cancer Intelligence Network.

Researcher Professor David Forman, from the University of Leeds, said men have a reputation for having a ‘stiff upper lip‘, meaning they are reluctant to visit the doctor. They also tend to be less health conscious than women, he said, and miss out on the routine health checks women are given when prescribed contraception and during pregnancy.

Lifestyle is also a key factor: smoking is more common in men, and they are bigger drinkers. Alcohol fuels cancer by increasing blood supply to tumours and by damaging DNA  –  a problem exacerbated by smoking. Poor diet is also a problem, with men eating more red meat and less fruit and vegetables than women.

Professor Alan White, one of the study’s authors and an expert in men’s health from Leeds Metropolitan University, said that it was vital men and doctors were made aware of the gender gap, and that men seek treatment early.

‘The advice to men is that if you have a problem and it hasn’t gone away when you think it should have, then go and get it checked out,’ he said.


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