Bowel cancer rates among men have soared by more than a quarter in the last 35 years, new figures have shown.
In contrast, women have experienced a rise of only 6%, according to the report from Cancer Research UK.
Increasing rates of bowel cancer may be linked to obesity and diets high in red and processed meat and low in fibre.
Another key factor is the increasing age of the population. But why there should be such a stark difference between men and women is still unknown.
Bowel cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK after lung cancer.
Incidence of the disease has climbed from 45 cases per 100,000 men in 1975-77 to 58 cases in 2008-10, a rise of 29%, said the report.
Over the same period, rates for women have increased only slightly from 35 to 37 per 100,000.
The biggest rise has been seen among people aged in their 60s and 70s, who now account for 23,000 new cases each year. However, bowel cancer survival is improving, with half of all patients living for at least 10 years after being diagnosed.
The figures are released to mark bowel cancer awareness month and the launch of a new campaign by the Bobby Moore Fund.
Professor Matthew Seymour, from the University of Leeds, who is director of the National Cancer Research Network, said: "We know the risk of bowel cancer increases as we get older and, since we're all living longer, it's no surprise to see that the number of people getting the disease is rising."