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The 'stiff upper lip' that is killing British men

BRITISH men's "stiff upper lip" attitude which makes them reluctant to visit their doctor may be behind the fact that they are almost 40 percent more likely than women to die of cancer, according to the latest research.

And their lifestyles may be to blame for them having a 16-percent greater chance of getting the killer disease in the first place.

The odds are even worse for men when gender-specific cancers such as breast or prostate are excluded.

Men were found to be almost 70 percent more likely to die from cancer and over 60 percent more likely to develop the disease, said the research published by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and Cancer Research UK.

Lung cancer deaths were also excluded in the study because smoking is known to be more common in men.

"After taking out the effect of age, men were significantly more likely than women to die from every one of the specific types of cancer considered and, apart from melanoma (skin cancer), they were also significantly more likely to develop the disease," said David Forman for the NCIN.

The analysis looked at the number of cancer deaths in the UK in 2007 and the number of new cases of cancer to have occurred in 2006, broken down by disease types.

Scientists had expected to find that non-gender specific cancers would strike women and men equally.

A possible reason for the findings could be men's more unhealthy lifestyles and not visiting the doctor. "Men have a reputation for having a 'stiff upper lip' and not being as health-conscious as women," Forman said.

Sara Hiom of Cancer Research UK said: "We know that around half of all cancers could be prevented by changes to lifestyle and it's worrying this message could be falling on deaf ears for men."


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