Why Are Men at Higher Risk of Cancer?

Biological differences may be at play.

  • Males get most types of cancer more often than females.
  • A new study finds that frequently cited risk factors do not explain the difference.
  • Research suggests a genetic reason males are more susceptible to cancer than females.

Cancer of most types develops more often in males than in females, and deaths from cancerTrusted Source reflect this disparity.

A new study from researchers at the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Cancer Institute has analyzed data for 171,274 male and 122,826 female volunteers who took part in the 1995-2011 NIH-AARP Diet and Health studyTrusted Source in an attempt to understand why this may be.

The analysis suggests that biological differences between the two sexes account for the imbalance, rather than behavioral or lifestyle factors, such as smoking and alcohol use, body mass index (BMI) and height, physical activity, diet, medications, and medical history.

“We hypothesized that these lifestyle factors weren’t the only reason that cancer incidence differs between men and women, but we were a little surprised that for many cancers these lifestyle factors explained such a small part of the difference,” lead author Dr. Sarah S. JacksonTrusted Source told Medical News Today.

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