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A new study has revealed that men have a higher incidence of most cancers than women. The study showed that the cause could be underlying biological sex differences rather than behavioural differences related to smoking, alcohol consumption, food, and other things. 

The findings of the research were published by Wiley in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society, stating that understanding the reasons for sex differences in cancer risk could provide important information to improve prevention and treatment. 

In order to investigate, Sarah S. Jackson, PhD, of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, and her colleagues, assessed differences in cancer risk for each of 21 cancer sites among 171,274 male and 122,826 female adults aged 50-71 years who were participating in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study from 1995-2011, news agency ANI report said.

A total of 17,951 new cancers arose in men and 8,742 in women during that time and the incidence was lower in men than women only for thyroid and gallbladder cancers, and risks were 1.3- to 10.8-times higher in men than women at other anatomic sites, the report said. The greatest increased risks in men were seen for esophageal cancer (a 10.8-times higher risk), larynx (a 3.5-times higher risk), gastric cardia (a 3.5-times higher risk), and bladder cancer (a 3.3-times higher risk), as per the report.

Additionally, men had an increased risk of most cancers even after adjusting for a wide range of risk behaviors and carcinogenic exposures and the differences in risk behaviors and carcinogenic exposures between the sexes only accounted for a modest proportion of the male predominance of most cancers (ranging from 11% for esophageal cancer to 50% for lung cancer), the report said.

Notably, the findings suggest that biological differences between sexes, such as the physiological, immunological, genetic, and other differences, reportedly play a major role in the cancer susceptibility of men versus women. Dr Jackson additionally informed that “our results show that there are differences in cancer incidence that are not explained by environmental exposures alone. This suggests that there are intrinsic biological differences between men and women that affect susceptibility to cancer."

(With inputs from ANI)

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