What Are The Most Common Types Of Cancer?

Over two hundred different forms of cancer exist in modern-day medicine, with some being very rare and some more common. There is no way to prevent the development of cancer with complete certainty, but eliminating risk factors for carcinogenesis can improve an individual's odds of avoiding cancer significantly. Some of the most prevalent forms of cancer are avoidable, considering they are caused by excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, excess body weight, poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and excessive exposure to the sun. Some cancers can be avoided by having the proper screening exams and receiving recommended vaccinations. Screening methods can identify precancerous tissues that can be mediated before they cause cancer. The most common forms of cancer that occur in the population have been recognized, and extensive research has been conducted to determine the best ways to prevent them and the best means of early-stage detection.

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Breast Cancer

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One of the most prevalent forms of cancer in the population is breast cancer or malignancy that develops in an individual's breast tissue. An estimated 270,000 individuals will receive the diagnosis of invasive breast cancer in the United States yearly. The number of deaths attributed to breast cancer is an estimated forty-three thousand annually. Most breast cancers are first detected through a screening procedure referred to as a mammogram, mainly because no symptoms tend to manifest in early-stage breast cancers. When symptoms do manifest in an affected individual's breast tissue, they include a mass or lump, tissue thickening, tenderness, redness, nipple abnormalities, swelling, distortion, skin irritation, scaliness and spontaneous discharge from the nipple. Diagnosis of an individual's breast cancer is made with the use of a mammogram, MRI scans, and tissue biopsy. Treatment involves removing the cancerous tumor while conserving as much breast tissue as possible or breast-conserving surgery. Some individuals may require a mastectomy to ensure the removal of all malignant cells. Excision of an individual's breast cancer tumor is usually followed by treatment with radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

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Prostate Cancer

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Although it may only occur in males, prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer diagnosed among the population. Each year, around 175,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States. Approximately thirty-two thousand deaths will be caused by prostate cancer each year in the United States. Screening for prostate cancer is a personal choice for males who are at an average risk when they reach a certain age, but there are no standard recommendations for prostate cancer screening in these individuals. Individuals at a higher risk of developing prostate cancer are encouraged to undergo screening at regular intervals to increase the chances of early detection. Symptoms that occur in individuals who do develop prostate cancer do not manifest until it has reached advanced stages. These symptoms include an interruption in urine flow, difficulty with starting urine flow, frequent urination, weak urine flow, difficulty with stopping urine flow, needing to urinate at night, burning with urination, pain with urination, and blood in the urine. Prostate exams and imaging methods are used to aid a prostate cancer diagnosis. Treatment for prostate cancer includes excision surgery, radioactive seed implants, external beam radiation, hormonal therapy, and chemotherapy.

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Lung Cancer

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Lung cancer, a malignancy that originates in the tissues or bronchus of an individual's lung, is considered to be one of the most prevalent types of cancer diagnosed in the population. Lung cancer acquires around 230,000 new cases each year in the United States, and approximately 143,000 deaths will be attributed to lung cancer annually. The primary reason for the development of lung cancer in the United States population is cigarette smoking. Out of all lung cancer deaths that occur each year, over eighty percent of them are caused by cigarette smoking. Both the duration and quantity of an individual's cigarette smoking have a significant influence on their risk of developing lung cancer. For these reasons, methods to screen patients who are former or current heavy smokers have been developed. The most effective lung cancer screening method is called low-dose spiral computed tomography. Patients who do develop lung cancer experience symptoms such as blood-streaked sputum, voice changes, recurrent pneumonia, persistent cough, chest pain, progressive shortness of breath, and recurrent bronchitis. Specialized imaging techniques and tissue biopsies are used for the diagnosis of lung cancer. Treatment for lung cancer may involve surgery if possible, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and or targeted drugs.

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Colon And Rectal Cancer

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Colon and rectal cancer, often termed colorectal cancer, is a more common form of cancer among the population. Around forty-five thousand new cases of rectal cancer and about 102,000 new cases of colon cancer are diagnosed in the United States annually. Approximately fifty-one thousand deaths will be attributed to colon and rectal cancer each year. Because these types of cancer are so prevalent among the population, screening procedures have been developed and recommended for individuals older than forty-five. These screening procedures can prevent an individual from developing colon and rectal cancer by the detection and removal of precancerous growths before they have the chance to develop into cancer. Screening procedures also increase a patient's likelihood of detecting colon and rectal cancer at an early stage when it is easier to treat. An individual who does develop colon or rectal cancer will experience symptoms that include blood in the stool, change in stool shape, abdominal pain or cramping, weight loss, rectal bleeding, change in bowel habits, feeling that bowel is not empty, and decreased appetite. Colon and rectal cancer diagnosis are made with a colonoscopy, PET CT scan, and tissue biopsy. Treatment for colon and rectal cancer includes surgically removing the tumor with the addition of a colostomy for rectal cancer patients.

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Skin Cancer

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Of all cancers, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer diagnosed in the United States. It is estimated that around six million cases of all types of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the United States. Approximately ninety-seven thousand new cases of melanoma are diagnosed each year in the United States, and about 7,500 deaths are attributed to melanoma annually. An individual who has a familial or personal history involving melanoma is at an increased risk of developing this form of deadly skin cancer. Excessive exposure to the ultraviolet rays of the sun and indoor tanning are known to be the most common causes of all skin cancers.

Skin cancer is the most preventable type of cancer. Awareness of skin growths that appear to be new or exhibit changes in shape, color, or size can help increase the chances of early detection. Patients who develop skin cancer will experience symptoms such as a skin lesion that will not heal, changes of mole color, changes in mole shape, changes in mole size, new skin growth that changes significantly within a couple of months, and a skin lesion with a growing lump. Diagnosis is made with a physical exam and skin tissue biopsy. Treatment for skin cancer consists of freezing off skin cancer spots, surgically removing skin cancer spots, topical cancer-killing ointments, radiation therapy, and in some cases, sentinel lymph node removal.

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