In September, researchers from Vanderbilt University in Tennessee published a study about breast cancer. The scientists concluded that breast cancer is more commonly diagnosed in women than men, and yet, men were found to be 19% more likely to die as a result of this cancer than women.
A ten-year study
This study is based on patient data collected and evaluated over a ten-year period. Between 2004 and 2014, the National Cancer Database counted approximately 1.8 million female and 16,025 male patients.
The study found that men were more likely to develop ER-positive breast cancer than women. In people diagnosed with this variant of cancer, cell growth is more responsive to the hormone oestrogen and while 75 per cent of women contract this variant of cancer, the number is, however, ten per cent higher for men.
Men should actually have a lower mortality rate
This type of cancer can be treated reasonably well and effectively with hormone therapy. Therefore, men should actually have a significantly lower risk of dying than women, but this hasn’t proved to be the case. One of the researchers involved in this study, Xiao-ou Shu, told GQ:
‘We have a lot of treatment options for that type of breast cancer. In theory, men should have better outcomes and have lower mortality as women do if the treatment is equally effective.’
Gender plays a role
The authors of this study suggested that gender plays quite a significant role in treatment. So far, they have not been able to find the exact reason why the mortality rate is higher for men.
However, one reason could be the fact that men reject hormone therapy more often than women do. The treatment is different for men because they don't have this hormone in their body. It’s as simple as that. But according to researchers, even everyday habits such as smoking, alcohol consumption and a lack of physical exercise could hinder recovery.
Check out the video above to find out more information about why men die from breast cancer more often than women do. But perhaps the solution for the fight against cancer has already been found.