Understanding Common Cancer Types

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States behind heart disease.

Comprehensive recognizes there is much to understand about cancer, reducing its risks and encouraging early detection and treatment for better outcomes. With that in mind, the team believes strongly in sharing resources to better understand the disease.

Understanding Cancer

Cancer is a generic term for a large group of diseases that can affect any part of the body. Other terms used are malignant tumors and neoplasms. One defining feature of cancer is the rapid creation of abnormal cells that grow beyond their usual boundaries, and which can then invade adjoining parts of the body and spread to other organs, the latter process is referred to as metastasizing. Metastases are a major cause of death from cancer.

The most fundamental understanding of cancer that is often misunderstood by the public is that there is not one, singular type of cancer. There are hundreds of types of cancer, and many types of different cancers when it comes to a cancer like breast cancer.

Gaining an understanding for each cancer type is critical, as every patient’s cancer is different, and every treatment is targeted for each patient. Additionally, everyone’s risk factors for cancers are different, and it’s of critical importance for individuals to own their own health and manage these risks actively.

What Are The Common Cancer Types?

To understand cancer, it should be known that cancer accounted for roughly 600,000 deaths in the year 2020. The most common cancers are:

  • Breast Cancer (276,480 cases)
  • Lung Cancer (228,820 cases)
  • Prostate Cancer (191,930 cases)
  • Colon and Rectal Cancer (147,950 cases)
  • Melanoma (100,350 cases)

The most common causes of death from cancer:

  • Lung Cancer (135,720 deaths)
  • Colon and Rectal (53,200 deaths)
  • Pancreatic Cancer (47,050 deaths)
  • Breast Cancer (42,170 deaths)
  • Prostate Cancer (33,330 deaths)

A handful of cancers present the majority of cases, as well as deaths. It is encouraging; however, that survival rates for these cancers are high. That’s because risk factors are becoming more well-known and early detection is becoming more available to help improve outcomes and research has advanced in ways it can be treated.

There are genetic factors as well as three categories of external agents that contribute to cancer:

  • Physical Carcinogens – Such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation.
  • Chemical Carcinogens – Exposure to elements such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant), and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant).
  • Biological Carcinogens – infections from certain viruses, bacteria, or parasites.

To prevent cancer, people can vaccinate against HPV and Hepatitis B virus, control occupational hazards as best as possible, and take simple actions such as reducing exposure to ultraviolet radiation by wearing sunscreen when outdoors.

Additionally, cancer mortality can be reduced if cases are detected and treated early. When cancer is identified early, cancer is more likely to respond to effective treatment and can result in a greater probability of surviving, less morbidity, and less expensive treatment. Significant improvements can be made in the lives of cancer patients by detecting cancer early and avoiding delays in care.

While we cannot make changes to someone’s genetic makeup, we do have cancer genetic counselors to better understand it, and we can make changes to factors such as making better lifestyle choices through diet and exercise.

Comprehensive Cancer Centers Can Help

Physicians at Comprehensive Cancer Centers provide a variety of treatment options for cancer including: chemotherapy, radiation therapy, breast surgery and clinical research for the treatment of cancer. To schedule an appointment with the team at Comprehensive, call 702-952-3350.

The content is this post is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.