Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Men’s ‘stiff upper lip’ may make them more likely to die from cancer


Monday, July 12, 2010
by BARB KAMPBELL

“The evidence shows that men are generally not aware that, as well as smoking, carrying excess weight around the waist, having a high alcohol intake and a poor diet and their family history all contribute to their increased risk of developing and dying prematurely from cancer, but more research needs to be done before we can be sure exactly why this gender gap exists,” said Alan White, professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University.
“The evidence shows that men are generally not aware that, as well as smoking, carrying excess weight around the waist, having a high alcohol intake and a poor diet and their family history all contribute to their increased risk of developing and dying prematurely from cancer, but more research needs to be done before we can be sure exactly why this gender gap exists,” said Alan White, professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University.

Men have been taught to be tough, not cry, to fend for themselves, but sometimes that attitude is to their detriment.

A new study in the UK found that men are 40 percent more likely to die of cancer than women. And not only that, men are 16 percent more likely to get it in the first place, according to the study released June 15.

The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and Cancer Research UK released the information that also showed after excluding breast cancer and cancers that only affect one sex, the difference between men and women was even greater, with men being about 70 percent more likely to die from cancer than women and more than 60 percent more likely to develop it in the first place.

When lung cancer was excluded, which removed the confounder introduced by the fact that more men smoke than women, the bottom line results were the same.

Those cancers included in the analysis were cancers of the esophagus, stomach, colorectal, liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder, brain and central nervous system, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, malignant melanoma, multiple myeloma, and leukemia. 

What researchers expected was to see that men and women would die from these types of cancers equally, but instead found that men were 70 percent more likely to die than women and 60 percent more likely to develop the diseases in the first place.

They speculated that it could be behavioral. For example, men could have unhealthier lifestyles and may not notice early cancer symptoms, or may be more reluctant to deal with symptoms, where women tend to notice them earlier and be less likely to delay seeing a doctor. But researchers agreed that more research was needed to find out the real reasons.

“The evidence shows that men are generally not aware that, as well as smoking, carrying excess weight around the waist, having a high alcohol intake and a poor diet and their family history all contribute to their increased risk of developing and dying prematurely from cancer, but more research needs to be done before we can be sure exactly why this gender gap exists,” said Alan White, professor of men’s health at Leeds Metropolitan University.

“Many of these deaths could be avoided by changes in lifestyle and earlier diagnosis,” White said.

Professor David Forman of the NCIN added: “For many of the types of cancer we looked at [as to] how that affects both sexes, there’s no known biological reason why men should be at a greater risk than women, so we were surprised to see such consistent differences.

“After taking out the effect of age, men were significantly more likely than women to die from every one of the specific types of cancer considered and, apart from melanoma, they were also significantly more likely to develop the disease. Men have a reputation for having a ‘stiff upper lip’ and not being as health-conscious as women.”

Unfortunately late diagnosis makes most forms of cancer harder to treat, Forman added.

Barb Kampbell of The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at barbkampbell@thetrucker.com.

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