The most prevalent types of cancers affecting people change from year to year based on estimated cases, but some cancers are always at the top. Some cancers form because of lifestyle habits, while others are hereditary. There are also cancers that are specific to either men or women but are still very prevalent among either gender. Here are four of the most common types of cancers, what causes them, and how to prevent them.
#1: Skin Cancer
The main three types of skin cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, basal cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Melanoma is the least common type of skin cancer, but it’s also the kind that can spread to other tissues. Most of the time, skin cancer is caused by UVA and UVB (ultraviolet lights) rays given off by the sun and tanning beds. Skin cancer affects both men and women, and people of all skin tones, so it’s important for everyone to wear sunscreen and use other forms of protection against the sun.
#2: Lung Cancer
There are two main types of lung cancer: non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer. Lung cancer is another type of cancer that affects both men and women, even more so if they are smokers. While the use of tobacco is one of the main causes of lung cancer, lung cancer can also be found in nonsmokers— especially if they have been exposed to harmful toxins that may be present in the environment (arsenic, asbestos, formaldehyde, radon, etc.). If you have larger lung cancer, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy or chemotherapy before surgery in order to shrink cancer. If there’s a risk that cancer cells were left behind after surgery or that your cancer may recur, your doctor may recommend radiation therapy or chemo treatment for lung cancer after surgery.
#3: Cancers Specific to Men
Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers specific to men. Cancer of the prostate grows at a slow pace, but there aren’t often symptoms in the early stages. This type of cancer is more prevalent in men over the age of 65, but other risk factors include a family history of prostate cancer, and possibly a diet too high in calcium, folic acid, and vitamin E. On the other hand, a diet high in folate (vitamin B) may reduce a person’s risk of developing prostate cancer. As prostate cancer usually progresses very slowly. You can live for decades without symptoms or needing treatment. Nevertheless, it can affect your life. As well as the possible side effects of treatment, a diagnosis of prostate cancer can understandably make you feel anxious or depressed.
#4: Cancers Specific to Women
Unfortunately, there are several cancers specific to women that are very common. These include cervical cancer, endometrial cancer, and uterine cancer. But the two most common are breast cancer and ovarian cancer, with symptoms of ovarian cancer not presenting until about stage 3 or 4.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer specific to women. Although men can get breast cancer too, only about 0.13% of them do, while 13% of women get it sometime in their life. The main risk factor for a woman developing breast cancer is based on her family history. A family history of breast cancer increases a woman’s chance of getting it, but other risk factors include older age, obesity, and drinking alcohol.
Ovarian cancer is another common type of cancer specific to women, and it is also linked to breast cancer. Women with a family history of breast cancer also have a greater risk of developing ovarian cancer. Other risk factors include: endometriosis, obesity, and women who have never had children/had children after the age of 35. There has also been increasing evidence of talcum powder causing ovarian cancer in women.
While many forms of cancer can be prevented, screening for certain types of cancers is extremely important. If your doctor recommends that you have occasional screenings for a certain type of cancer, it’s essential to get those done. More often than not, early detection is the key to preventing cancer from getting worse. Also, make sure that you are eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting plenty of physical activity. A healthy lifestyle may not 100% prevent all forms of cancer, but it can definitely help in decreasing the likelihood that you will develop some form of cancer.