Men drink and smoke more than women — but that is not the reason they have a higher cancer risk.
A major study suggests biological differences are the real reason behind the disparity between sexes.
Understanding these differences could help to improve prevention and treatment, researchers say.
The study looked at 300,000 middle-aged and older Americans who did not have cancer over 15 years.
Men were more than twice as likely to develop the disease compared to women — even when lifestyle factors were ruled out.
‘This suggests that there are intrinsic biological differences between men and women that affect susceptibility to cancer,’ said lead researcher Dr Sarah Jackson, an epidemiologist at the National Cancer Institute.
Researchers suggested differences in genes, hormones and the immune system all play a role.
It comes as UK scientists today called for all cancer patients to receive genetic testing so they can be given drugs that work best against their tumour.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute examined the prevalence of different cancers in 171,274 men and 122,826 women between 1995 and 2011. The graph shows the number of cancer cases among men and women per people-years (horizontal axis) — the prevalence over time. Results show cancer rates are up to 11-times higher among men than women — just two cases of esophagus cancer among women per 100,000 people-years, compared to 22 cases among men
How lifestyles affect your cancer risk – based on gender: A 2017 study by the American Cancer Society showed how cigarette smoking, alcohol, processed meat and low fruit and vegetable intake is riskier for men than women. For women, excess body weight, physical inactivity, low fiber and HPV are riskier for developing cancer
Overall, cigarette smoking drives more than a quarter of cancers, while excess body weight and alcohol consumption are the next riskiest lifestyle factors, which could be avoided
Some 182,000 women are diagnosed with cancer in the UK every year, rising to 193,000 among men.
In the US, 970,000 men and 928,000 women have cancer confirmed annually.
Researchers from the NCI examined the rates of 21 types of cancers in 171,274 men and 122,826 women.
Participants were aged 50 to 71 and their records were monitored between 1995 and 2011.
FACTORS THAT INCREASE CANCER RISK
For most people, increasing age is the biggest risk factor for developing cancer. In general, people over 65 have the greatest risk of developing cancer. People under 50 have a much lower risk.
Cancer is very common and most people have relatives who have had cancer. People often worry that a history of cancer in their family greatly increases their risk of developing it. But fewer than 1 in 10 cancers are associated with a strong family history of cancer.
In the UK, more than 1 in 4 cancer deaths (over 25 per cent) are caused by smoking.
Breathing in other people’s smoke (passive smoking) also increases your risk of developing cancer.
Drinking alcohol increases your risk of mouth and throat cancers. But it is also linked to other cancers.
In general, the more you drink, the higher your risk. Your risk is even…