HealthDay News — The risk for cancer is higher for men than women at most shared anatomic sites, according to a study published online August 8 in Cancer.

Sarah S. Jackson, PhD, from the National Cancer Institute in Rockville, Maryland, and colleagues conducted prospective cohort analyses involving 171,274 male and 122,826 female participants in the National Institutes of Health-AARP Diet and Health Study (1995 to 2011) to examine the extent to which behaviors, anthropometrics, lifestyles, and medical history collectively explain the male predominance of risk at 21 shared cancer sites. Data were included for 26,693 incident cancers (17,951 and 8742 in men and women, respectively).

The researchers found that for thyroid and gallbladder cancers only, incidence was significantly lower in men than women. The risks were higher for men than women at most other sites (adjusted hazard ratio range, 1.3 to 10.8), with the strongest increases seen for bladder cancer, gastric cardia cancer, larynx cancer, and esophageal adenocarcinoma (hazard ratios, 3.33, 3.49, 3.53, and 10.80, respectively). A statistically significant proportion of the observed male excess for esophageal adenocarcinoma and cancers of the liver, other biliary tract, bladder, skin, colon, rectum, and lung was explained by risk factors, although the proportion of the male excess that was explained by risk factors was modest (ranging from 50 to 11% for lung cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma, respectively).

“Understanding the sex-related biologic mechanisms that lead to the male predominance of cancer at shared anatomic sites could have important implications for etiology and prevention,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Merck.

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