Experts have said there is no significant biological reason why more men than women are diagnosed with cancer.
Even when people remove sex-specific cancers from the equation – such as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, and breast cancer – which can affect men but most commonly affects women, experts found men were more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and more likely to die from it.
A report by the ONS on avoidable mortality in England and Wales revealed males were more likely to die from an avoidable cause than females.
Figures by Cancer Research UK state: “An estimated 42 per cent of cancer cases each year in the UK are linked to a combination of 14 major lifestyle and other factors.
“The proportion is higher in men – 45 per cent – than women – 40 per cent, mainly due to sex differences in smoking.
Smoking is believed to be the largest single preventable cause of cancer each year in the UK, with excess body weight being the second.
People who are obese have a higher risk of developing cancer and dying from the disease.
Sophia Lowes, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “In the UK, men are more likely to develop cancer while women are more likely to survive it.
“Some cancers only happen in males due to their biology, like prostate cancer, but for other cancers lifestyle differences are likely to play a role.
“For example, men are more likely to drink alcohol, be overweight and to have smoked in the past, which all increase cancer risk.
“Four in ten cancers could be prevented by things like being a non-smoker, keeping a healthy weight, cutting down on alcohol, eating a balanced diet and staying active.”
Figures revealed by the ONS have revealed the number of men and women diagnosed with certain cancers.
Between 2012 and 2014, 18,903 men were diagnosed with bladder cancer in comparison to 6,976 women.
Colorectal cancer – or bowel cancer – affected 56,369 men, in comparison to 44, 393 women.
Lung cancer affected 58,801 men and 49,855 women.
However the report said bladder cancer was an anomaly because women have a much lower chance of survival than men.
The report said: “This is likely to be due to a complex mix of reasons.
“Women with a given stage of bladder cancer have worse survival compared with men with the same disease stage.
“This suggests that there are some gender differences in bladder cancer survival, because of differences in biology. Women with bladder cancer also tend to be diagnosed at a later stage.”
It has also been suggest that men are less willing to talk about their health concerns.
Women have more contact with health professionals throughout their lives – including appointments for contraception, during pregnancy and birth which could give women more opportunity to talk to GPs about worrying symptoms.
Women are also invited to breast and cervical cancer screenings – which provides more opportunities for women to be in contact with healthcare professionals.
All men and women aged 60 to 74 are invited to carry out a faecal occult blood (FOB) test – bowel cancer screening.