Research Summary: Do Female Cancer Patients Display Better Survival Rates Compared with Males? Analysis of the Korean National Registry Data, 2005–2009



Sex differences have been reported in the prognosis of certain cancers. In this study, we investigated whether Korean females display better survival rates compared with male patients for solid tumor sites.


We analyzed data from the Korean National Cancer Incidence Database from 599,288 adult patients diagnosed with solid cancers between 2005 and 2009. Patients were followed until December 2010. We applied a relative excess risk (RER) model adjusting for year of follow-up, age at diagnosis, and stage at diagnosis.


For all solid cancer sites combined, women displayed an 11% lower risk of death compared to men (RER 0.89; 95% CI 0.88–0.90) after adjusting for year of follow-up, age, stage, and case mix. Women showed significantly lower RERs for the following sites: head/neck, esophagus, small intestine, liver, nasal cavities, lung, bone/cartilages, melanoma of skin, soft tissue, brain and CNS, and thyroid. In contrast, women displayed a poorer prognosis than did men for colorectal, laryngeal, kidney and bladder cancer. However, the survival gaps between men and women narrowed by increase in age; female patients over 75 years of age displayed a 3% higher RER of death compared with males in this age group.


Female cancer patients display an improved survival for the majority of solid tumor sites, even after adjustment for age and stage. Age at diagnosis was the major contributor to the women’s survival advantage.


Publisher: Public Library of Science

Date Published: 26-December-2012

Author(s): Jung K., Park S., Shin A., Oh C., Kong H., Jun J., Won Y.


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