Are there are differences in rates of cancer experienced by men and women? Elizabeth Tracey reports
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Do men experience cancer more often than women? A recent large study asserts yes, showing higher rates of bladder cancer and larynx cancer among men, while William Nelson, director of the Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, says this can be explained by higher rates of smoking among men. That doesn’t mean there’s no sex differences though, he says.
Nelson: Actually I’m kind of open minded on this. There are some interesting mechanisms you could chase after. They didn’t look at things like lymphoid cancers, lymphomas and autoimmune diseases and things are clearly more common in women and estrogen receptors, particularly the estrogen receptor beta is distributed among immune cells. There are many aspects of biology and physiology that are different between the genders. Some of them are associated with sex steroids hormones but some of them are associated with other things. I think it’s clearly plausible I just don’t think this study shows that. :29
Nelson says discerning a real difference would help raise the index of suspicion for specific cancers experienced more by men or women. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.