Men have higher death rates than women across all stages of breast cancer, study findings reported in JAMA Oncology show. In the study, five-year overall survival after a breast cancer diagnosis was 77.6% for men and 86.4% for women.
The researchers analyzed information from the National Cancer Data Base to compare the death rates for 16,025 men and 1,800,708 women diagnosed with breast cancer between 2004 and 2014. In addition to the overall higher death rates, men were more likely to be diagnosed with advanced-stage disease (5.8% were diagnosed at stage IV compared to 3.8% of women) and were more likely than women to be undertreated (e.g., not offered radiation therapy).
Lack of adequate treatment and later diagnosis were just part of the factors. The authors also found that differences in clinical characteristics (e.g., tumor type and stage, age at diagnosis, type of treatment) accounted for 63% of the mortality disparity. However, after accounting for all known factors, men were still 19% more likely to die within five years of diagnosis than women.
The authors said that more studies must focus on men with breast cancer and include multiple outcomes, such as remission, recurrence, and death rates from cancer and all causes.