Cancer and the Sexes: Why Do Men & Women Differ?

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In summary, some cancers are more common in men than women because of different hormone levels and physical differences between the sexes. For example, prostate cancer is more common in men because they have a prostate gland and women are immune to it.
  • #1
sontag
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Why are some cancers more common in men than women and vice versa?
Is this because of hormones or because women have an extra X chromosome?
 
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  • #2
Well.. more women have lactating breasts than men.. does this count?
 
  • #3
kalladin said:
Well.. more women have lactating breasts than men.. does this count?
Lactating breasts don't explain why women are immune to prostate cancer though.
 
  • #4
wasteofo2 said:
Lactating breasts don't explain why women are immune to prostate cancer though.

Well, it indirectly does, since women do not have a prostate gland. It is a purely male organ involved in seminal fluid production. You're not alone in your misconceptions about the prostate, many people think both sexes have one and many more don't know its location and/or function.

As far as prostate malignancies are concerned, this condition is the second most prevalent type of cancer in men and one's risk increases with age. It is not well understood what causes this cancer, but like many, early detection is important and it can be treated.
 
  • #5
sontag said:
Why are some cancers more common in men than women and vice versa?
Is this because of hormones or because women have an extra X chromosome?
That is because hormone levels are differently in males and females (estrogen, testosteron), organs are different (breast, uterus, ovary, prostate) and also because of behavioural differences (smoking, drinking).

The most common cancer in women is in the breast (33.6%) and in male it is of the prostate (19.4%). In women the second most common is of the colon/rectum (13.2%) and the third most common is the lung/bronchius (7.3%). In men this is reversed: 13.4% and 18.0% respectively. Historically smoking was more popular in men, thus the reversion. For men the incidence of lung cancer has already peaked, for women not yet (since women started the habit of smoking later).

There are also a lot of other factors playing a role in developing tumors, for example in breast tumors: genetics factors, physical activity, young obesity, age at menarchy, age of having children, breast feeding, nr of children, body weight after menopause, progesteron exposure (HRT).
 

Related to Cancer and the Sexes: Why Do Men & Women Differ?

1. Why are certain types of cancer more common in men than women?

There are a few reasons why certain types of cancer may be more common in men. One explanation is that men have higher levels of certain hormones, such as testosterone, which can contribute to the growth of certain cancers. Additionally, men are more likely to engage in behaviors that increase their risk of cancer, such as smoking and heavy alcohol consumption.

2. Is there a genetic component to the differences in cancer rates between men and women?

Yes, genetics can play a role in the development of certain types of cancer. Some gene mutations may be more prevalent in one sex than the other, leading to a higher risk of certain cancers. Additionally, certain genetic predispositions may be influenced by sex hormones, further contributing to the differences in cancer rates between men and women.

3. How do lifestyle factors impact the risk of cancer in men and women?

Lifestyle factors, such as diet, exercise, and exposure to environmental toxins, can greatly impact the risk of cancer in both men and women. For example, a diet high in processed and red meats has been linked to an increased risk of colorectal cancer in both sexes. Similarly, not getting enough physical activity and being exposed to harmful chemicals can also increase the risk of certain cancers.

4. Do men and women respond differently to cancer treatments?

There is evidence to suggest that men and women may respond differently to certain cancer treatments. For example, studies have shown that women may have better survival rates for some types of cancer, such as melanoma and colon cancer. Additionally, side effects of treatment may also vary between the sexes, with women experiencing more severe symptoms in some cases.

5. Are there any preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of cancer in men and women?

Yes, there are many preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of cancer in both men and women. These include maintaining a healthy diet and weight, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol consumption, and staying physically active. Regular screenings and early detection can also greatly improve the chances of successful treatment. It is important for both men and women to be aware of their individual risk factors and take steps to reduce their chances of developing cancer.

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