Men die more often than women from breast cancer, study says

October 24, 2019  14:20

Men with breast cancer are more likely to die from this disease than women with the same diagnosis, said in a new study by scientists from the American University of Vanderbilt, published in JAMA Oncology

According to the study, mortality within five years after being diagnosed among men is 19% higher than among women with breast cancer.

The problem, according to the authors of the study, may be that men often lead more unhealthy lifestyles, in addition, they are less likely to undergo screening examinations, and therefore they often find the disease in later stages than in women.

In men, breast cancer develops much less frequently than in women: they account for less than 1% of all cases of the disease, so it was difficult for the authors to recruit a sufficient number of men for the study. Scientists used data for 11 years (from January 1, 2004 to December 31, 2014), in their sample there were 1.8 million female patients, but only 16,025 male patients.

As it turned out, about 85% of cases of breast cancer in men were ER-positive (this means that there are receptors for the female sex hormone estrogen in the cells of breast cancer). 

Hormone therapy is usually quite effective for patients with this type of cancer. However, previous studies have shown that hormone treatment may be less effective for men than for women, and this can explain the higher mortality among men.

Other factors that can affect male mortality include smoking, alcohol, physical inactivity, and obesity.

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