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Cancer and the sexes

  1. Apr 30, 2005 #1
    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?
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 30, 2005 #2
    Well.. more women have lactating breasts than men.. does this count?
  4. May 1, 2005 #3
    Lactating breasts don't explain why women are immune to prostate cancer though.
  5. May 2, 2005 #4


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    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.
  6. May 2, 2005 #5


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    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).
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