The advantage of women in cancer survival: An analysis of EUROCARE-4 data

A. Micheli, R. Ciampichini, W. Oberaigner, L. Ciccolallo, E. de Vries, I. Izarzugaza, P. Zambon, G. Gatta, R. De Angelis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We analysed 1.6 million population-based EUROCARE-4 cancer cases (26 cancer sites, excluding sex-specific sites, and breast) from 23 countries to investigate the role of sex in cancer survival according to age at diagnosis, site, and European region. For 15 sites (salivary glands, head and neck, oesophagus, stomach, colon and rectum, pancreas, lung, pleura, bone, melanoma of skin, kidney, brain, thyroid, Hodgkin disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma) age- and region-adjusted relative survival was significantly higher in women than men. By multivariable analysis, women had significantly lower relative excess risk (RER) of death for the sites listed above plus multiple myeloma. Women significantly had higher RER of death for biliary tract, bladder and leukaemia. For all cancers combined women had a significant 5% lower RER of death. Age at diagnosis was the main determinant of the women's advantage, which, however, decreased with increasing age, becoming negligible in the elderly, suggesting that sex hormone patterns may have a role in women's superior ability to cope with cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1017-1027
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2009


  • Cancer survival
  • Gender differences
  • Sex hormones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


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