According to the American Cancer Society, 1.9 million Americans are expected to be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. It is estimated that 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with invasive cancer at some point in their lives.
Knowing the most common types of cancer and how to prevent or detect them early may save your life.
The 5 Most Common Types of Cancer
These following types of cancer are the most common. However, for many of them, you can prevent cancer or reduce your risks. Screenings can help you detect cancer in its early stages, which improves your outcomes.
1. Breast Cancer
Number diagnosed: 284,200
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer. Although it is most often seen in women, men are also susceptible to it. The good news is that breast cancer can be caught early with monthly breast exams and annual mammograms after age 45.
1 in 8 women in the U.S. will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. Although being female is the greatest risk factor, many factors play a role in contracting breast cancer. The greatest risk factors are obesity and weight gain, high estrogen or testosterone levels, a long menstrual history, not having children or having children after 30, and a genetic predisposition.You can reduce your risk of breast cancer by maintaining a healthy weight and breastfeeding for one year of your life. Although this cancer is common, there is a five-year survival rate of 90%, which means most cases are treated successfully.
2. Prostate Cancer
Number diagnosed: 248,530
Prostate cancer cases are growing, but the statistics and genetics are very similar to those of breast cancer with 1 in 8 men being diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. There is some good news. The five-year survival rate of men with prostate cancer is 98%.
Most of the risk factors for prostate cancer are out of your control. You are at an increased risk of prostate cancer as you age, if you have African ancestry, and certain genetic mutations. The factors that you can control are smoking and obesity.
Men over age 50 (45 if you are of African descent) should discuss prostate cancer screening with their doctor.
3. Lung Cancer
Number diagnosed: 235,760
Lung cancer remains one of the 5 most common types of cancer, although it is declining. The five-year survival rate is 21%, meaning it is very difficult to treat. With 235,760 new cases expected to be diagnosed this year, it is expected that 131,880 people will die from lung cancer.
80% of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. This means that this cancer is preventable. Other risk factors include breathing in any chemicals. This can be from marijuana, vaping, or environmental factors such as chemicals at work.
If you have smoked over 30 packs per year, you should have lung cancer screenings starting at age 55. If you have any difficulties breathing prior to age 55, discuss these concerns with your doctor. When you are young, you are more likely to be misdiagnosed. If that happens, you should contact a cancer misdiagnosis lawyers to discuss your options.
4. Colon Cancer
Number diagnosed: 104,270 (45,230 additional rectal cancer cases)
Colon cancer cases are more difficult to discuss because colorectal cancer was once lumped them into the same category. The death rate includes both cancers and it should be noted that the new diagnoses are separated.
Colon cancer is another cancer that can be hard to detect. As a result, it has a 63% five-year survival rate. The good news is that 55% of the cases can be prevented through lifestyle changes, which include a healthy diet with whole grains, and exercise. Other factors are genetic.
Since early detection is important, it is recommended that men and women over age 45 have regular screenings. There are many screening options available, so be sure to discuss these options with your doctor.
5. Skin Cancer – Melanoma
Number diagnosed: 115,320
Skin cancer is technically the most common form of cancer, but non-melanoma cases are not required to be reported, so we only have melanoma statistics. Melanoma is one of the most dangerous forms of skin cancer and is preventable. Fortunately, it has a 93% five-year survival rate, meaning most cases can be treated effectively.
The greatest risk factor for developing melanoma is having light skin and a history of sun exposure or sunburns. Although non-Hispanic caucasian are most likely to develop skin cancer, anyone of any race can develop it.
Other risk factors include having a large number of moles, excessive UV exposure, and family history. Since this cancer is easily preventable with sunscreen and avoiding UV rays, it is avoidable for most.
Cancer Risks and Prevention
Since lifestyle choices often cause the most common types of cancer, it is important to know your risk factors and reduce your risks when possible. Also, follow screening guidelines to detect cancer early and you will have a better outcome.