Second only to incidences of heart disease, cancer is the biggest killer across America, with different factors contributing to the likelihood of being diagnosed with certain types of this deadly disease. These factors may range from lifestyle habits, family history, ethnicity/race, gender etc. Below, we take a look at 4 of the most common types of cancer in the U.S. for women and men across all races as follows:
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Prostate (the walnut-sized, small structure that forms part of a man’s reproductive system) cancer is, arguably, the most common cause of cancer deaths for men over the age of 75. About 80% of men over the age of 80 have some prostate cancer cells in some form or the other, but with improved treatment and earlier diagnosis, the 5-year survival rate for men who have suffered from prostate cancer almost approaches 100 percent.
White men and African-American men are at higher risk of developing prostate cancer and should undergo testing when they are anywhere between 40 and 50 years. Living or working around certain chemicals, drinking too much alcohol and diet (men whose diets are mainly comprised of fat are at higher risk) are thought to be contributing factors.
It is especially difficult to diagnose ovarian cancer because the early signs tend to be confused with other health issues and are often vague. What is worse is that the causes of ovarian cancer remain largely unknown. Women over the age of 55 are most at risk of developing and dying from the disease, and having estrogen replacement therapy for extended periods of time has been known to increase one’s risk. Conversely, women who have more children, including having their first child at an early age, have a lower chance of getting this disease.
Swelling of the stomach accompanied by stomach pains are possible symptoms of ovarian cancer. The good news, however, is that if the cancer has not spread to other organs, removal of cancerous cells may be possible with a partial or full oophorectomy.
Although non-smokers have been known to contract lung cancer, cigarette smoking still remains the leading cause of the disease even though prolonged exposure to second-hand smoke (or inhaling heavily polluted air) is just as bad as smoking an actual cigarette. Lung cancer manifests itself in two main forms- non-small cell and small cell- with the latter’s cancer cells usually growing and spreading faster. Compared with other types of cancer, cure rates for lung cancer are, sadly, very low.
Cross section of surgically dissected small cell carcinoma tumor
Statistics show that one in eight women is likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their life, which makes it the most common cancer afflicting women. There are two main types of breast cancer i.e. lobular and ductal. Lobular cancer starts in the lobules that produce milk while ductal cancer develops in milk ducts. Like with most diseases, the older a woman gets, the more at risk they are of developing breast cancer. Giving birth to your first child earlier has been known to reduce the chances of getting breast cancer while having a family history of the disease inevitably raises one’s risk.