Cancer: The Most Common Types of Cancer and How to Prevent It
Cancer refers to a group of diseases in which a certain part of the body’s cells grow abnormally and uncontrollably. Cancer can begin in the human body almost anywhere.
The normal function of human cells includes cell growth and multiplication (through a cell division process) to yield new cells. These cells grow old, get damaged, and die eventually, allowing new cells to take their place. This orderly process sometimes disintegrates, damages, or abnormal cells grow and multiply.
As a result, this abnormal cell growth may form tumors (tissue lumps). Tumors can either be cancerous or non-cancerous. Cancerous tumors are also called malignant tumors. They invade or spread into surrounding tissues and may travel to other places in the body, forming new tumors.
Genetic changes that give rise to cancer can occur because of the impairment of DNA caused by any toxic substances in the atmosphere, including chemicals, smoke, and ultraviolet rays. Cancer can also be hereditary. Depending on the type of cancer, people can experience various symptoms.
Have a look at the list below to know the most common cancer types and how you can prevent them.
1- Lung Cancer
Lung cancer starts when the cells multiply uncontrollably, causing tumors to spread to other body parts. It is one of the leading causes of death in the US. The estimated deaths due to lung cancer are around 142,670 every year. Symptoms of lung cancer may include chest pain, wheezing, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of appetite, prolonged cough, and voice changes.
The most common lung cancer type is non-small cell lung cancer, usually caused by smoking. In contrast, mesothelioma is a rare type of lung cancer. Have you ever heard about mesothelioma before? What is mesothelioma? It occurs on the pleura of the lungs due to continuous exposure to asbestos – a natural silicate mineral.
The most you can do to minimize your risk of developing lung cancer is to quit smoking and avoid passive smoking. And also, abstain from visiting places where you would get exposed to toxic substances, like asbestos.
2- Breast Cancer
One of the most diagnosed cancers in women around the USA is breast cancer. It starts in the breast, either left or right, or both. Breast cancer can begin from different parts of the organ, including lobules, ducts, nipples, blood vessels, or lymph vessels of the breast. While breast cancer is most common in women, it can also develop in men. Common symptoms include a change in breast size and shape, pain in the nipple, lump, alterations to the skin on the breast, blood or fluid discharge from the nipple, and redness.
Around 41,760 women and 500 men deaths due to breast cancer are reported each year.
While it might not be possible to prevent it altogether, you can do certain things to minimize the risk of developing breast cancer. Getting regular mammograms and inspecting your breasts at least once a month when you turn 20 can help maintain your breast health.And having them checked by a doctor can also lower your chances of discovering them in their later stages.
3- Skin Cancer
The uncontrollable and abnormal growth of skin cells leads to the development of skin cancer. It mostly develops in people who are excessively exposed to sun rays. However, it can also occur in areas not exposed to rays. Common areas on which skin cancer usually develops include the face, ears, lips, neck, hands, arms, and legs.
Symptoms may include a brownish spot, a mole that bleeds, changes its color or size, painful lesions, and small lesions with some of its portion appearing white, red, pink, or blue-black.
Limiting exposure to harmful ultraviolet radiation can reduce your risk of developing skin cancer. Whenever you do, ensure to apply sunscreen with excellent Sun Protection Factor SPF to exposed body areas. Keep checking your skin for any suspicious alterations to avoid discovering cancer in advanced stages. Early skin cancer detection allows you to have a great chance for successful treatment.
4- Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer is the type of cancer that occurs in the prostate gland – a small walnut-sized gland found between the penis and the bladder of males. The function of the prostate gland is to produce seminal fluid that provides nourishment and transportation of sperm.
Prostate cancer mostly grows slowly and is confined to the gland alone, causing no serious harm. However, some types may be aggressive and require early detection to get the best treatment.
It is a common type of cancer and the second leading cause of death due to cancer among men. Around 164,690 new cases of prostate cancer and 29,430 deaths due to it are reported each year in the United States.
Although there is no proven prevention strategy for prostate cancer, you can do several things to lower your risk of developing it. Prostate cancer risk is reduced by making healthy choices such as eating well, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising, and remaining sexually active.
5- Uterine Cancer
Uterine cancer develops when cells of the uterus start growing uncontrollably. Uterine cancer has two types, endometrial cancer, and uterine sarcoma. The former occurs in the uterus lining and accounts for most cases (95%). At the same time, the latter develops in the muscle tissue of the uterus and is less common.
Women suffering from uterine cancer may experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, a common symptom. Other symptoms may include heavier periods, watery discharge with or without smell, unusual weight loss, abdominal pain, and difficulty urinating.
There’s no proven way to prevent uterine cancer, but keeping yourself physically active and maintaining a healthy weight may decrease your chance of uterine cancer.
6- Pancreatic Cancer
This type of cancer starts in your pancreatic tissues. The pancreas lies behind your stomach’s lower part and helps release digestive enzymes and produce hormones required to regulate your blood sugar. In 2020, almost 57,600 new pancreatic cancer cases were reported in the U.S.
Pancreatic cancer is hard to detect at its initial stages because it often shows no signs until it has spread to other body organs. Some symptoms may include pain, jaundice, and weight loss.
Most pancreatic cancers are unavoidable, but you can lower your risk of developing them. Health history, smoking, and family history can affect your pancreas. Hence, keeping your weight healthy, restricting alcohol intake, and smoking can help you minimize the risk.
Cancer is the unbounded growth of abnormal cells that can occur almost anywhere in a human body. Anything that causes a normal cell to grow abnormally can cause cancer. There are more than 200 different types of cancer, including the most common ones, such as skin cancer, breast cancer, uterine cancer, lung cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer.
Symptoms usually depend on the type and stage of cancer, although common signs, such as weight loss, fatigue, unusual bleeding, prolonged cough, fever, etc., may occur in all cancer types. With a healthy diet and weight, regular exercise restricted alcohol intake, and no smoking, you can reduce your chance of getting any cancer.