Cancer Prevention And Early Detection: Why It is different for Men And Women
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Due to the physical, hormonal, and genetic differences between men and women, some cancers may be more likely to strike men than women.
Cancer is undoubtedly one of the most lethal and prolific diseases of the time, and some cancer can lead a person to fatal situations. The term ‘cancer’ is used to refer to a broad range of illnesses that can affect any region of the body. One characteristic of cancer is the rapid development of aberrant cells that quickly outgrow their normal bounds and can infiltrate surrounding body parts before metastasizing to other organs. The main reason why cancer patients die is because of widespread metastases. According to the National Cancer Registry Programme of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the estimated number of cancer cases in India increased from 14,26,447 in 2021 to 14,61,427 in 2022. The report further highlighted that the mortality due to the disease expanded from 7,89,202 in 2021 to 8,08,558 in 2022.
As a result, modern science has achieved great strides in cancer research over the past few decades to reduce the incidence and mortality, and it is now more typical to see individuals make a full recovery if their disease is identified and treated at an early stage. Nevertheless, it is essential to remember that irrespective of whether a a man or a woman has survived cancer, complete recovery does not mean all precautions should stop.
GENDER DISPARITY IN CANCER DETECTION
One of the most reliable results in cancer epistemology is the disparity between genders in malignant transformation. Males tend to develop haematologic malignancies more frequently than females, and this is true for most other cancers as well. The same hormonal or behavioral variations between the sexes are thought to contribute to similar gender differences in non-malignant disorders like autoimmunity. Nonetheless, descriptive epidemiology consistently finds a gender gap in cancer incidence. And it has long been known that men are more prone to get cancer than women.
FACTORS THAT AFFECT MEN AND WOMEN DIFFERENTLY
It is not an overstatement to state that men and women can be affected by cancer prevention and early diagnosis in various ways for a variety of reasons. So, let’s delve into a few factors.
Due to the physical, hormonal, and genetic differences between men and women, some cancers may be more likely to strike men than women. For instance, estrogen and progesterone hormones increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancer in women. Contrarily, men are more likely than women to develop prostate cancer as a result of the presence of male hormones like testosterone.
Cancer screening recommendations
Due to differences in cancer incidence rates and risk factors, the recommendations for cancer screening can vary between men and women. For instance, women are routinely checked for breast and ovarian cancer, and are often advised to begin obtaining regular mammograms at the age of 50. Similarly, men are advised to start routine prostate cancer tests around age 50.
Factors related to culture and society
It cannot be denied that our community is still predominantly male. In this context, the way that cancer prevention and early detection affect men and women differently might also be influenced by cultural and socioeconomic variables. For instance, societal expectations of male toughness and self-reliance may make males less likely to get regular checks or seek medical care. Women, on the other hand, could be more inclined to put their families’ health before their own. In addition, attitudes toward cancer prevention and screening might be affected by cultural conventions surrounding femininity and masculinity. Gender-based lifestyle choices can also impact cancer risk. Men may smoke, drink excessively, and skip check-ups, while women may eat healthily and exercise regularly.
PRIORITISING HEALTH CONCERNS
There is no denying the fact that men experience higher rates of cancer death and incidence as compared to women. Although their inferior utilization of primary prevention techniques is the leading cause of this gap, gender differences in early detection procedures may also be a significant factor. There are data to see if there were any gender variations in the early manifestation of symptoms and the use of screening behaviors. In light of this, everyone needs to prioritize their health concern. Furthermore, they need the proper knowledge and awareness about the cancer symptoms and precautions and, if required, consult health experts, which might preclude opportunities to promote cancer detection behaviors.
In addition, preventing cancer and detecting it early are complicated concerns that a wide variety of factors, such as biological, social, and cultural aspects, can influence. Therefore, it is advisable that everyone, be it male or female, must consider the factors mentioned above while creating cancer prevention and screening plans specific to the requirements of various groups.
(This article is authored by Dr Kanury V S Rao, Co-Founder & Chief Scientific Officer (CSO), PredOmix)
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