Most Common Types of Cancer

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The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that cancer will strike more than 1.6 million Americans in 2012. Some types of cancer are much more common than others. Here’s a look at the types that the ACS expects to be diagnosed most frequently in 2012:

Prostate cancer . This is the most common type of cancer in men, except for skin cancer. The disease is more likely to develop in older men, African Americans, and men whose relatives have had prostate cancer.

When the disease is in its early stages, there are often no symptoms. More advanced disease may lead to an inability to urinate, the need to urinate frequently, pain or burning with urination and blood in the urine.

Breast cancer . This is the most common cancer that affects women, aside from skin cancer. Though it can also strike men, it does so much less often. Breast cancer typically produces no symptoms when the tumor is small and treatment is most effective. It is important for women to follow recommended screening guidelines.

Older women are more likely to develop breast cancer, and so are women who are overweight or obese after menopause. Drinking alcohol and being physically inactive can put women at higher risk of breast cancer.

Lung cancer. Cancer of the lung and a related structure called the bronchus is the second most common cancer in both men and women. It accounts for more deaths than any other cancer in both genders.

Symptoms may include shortness of breath, a persistent cough, coughing up blood, chest pain and a change in the voice. The issue that most often raises people’s risk of lung cancer is cigarette smoking.

Colorectal cancer – Colorectal cancer, which affects the lower part of the digestive system, is the third most common type of cancer in both men and women. People become more likely to develop this cancer as they get older. Other factors that raise the risk of the disease include obesity, lack of physical activity, eating red meat or processed meat frequently, smoking, and alcohol use.

Current screening recommendations call for men and women who are at average risk for developing colorectal cancer to begin screening at age 50.

Others in the 10 most common types of cancer are:


  • Bladder
  • Mouth and pharynx (the back of the throat)
  • Leukemia, which is cancer of the bone marrow and blood


  • Uterus
  • Thyroid
  • Ovary

Males and females

  • Melanoma, the most serious kind of skin cancer
  • Kidney and a related structure called the renal pelvis
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, which affects a type of white blood cell
  • Pancreas

West Hills Hospital & Medical Center offers the latest advances in state-of-the-art cancer care . Our highly trained physicians and other providers diagnose and treat cancer in a caring, convenient setting. To learn more about our cancer treatment services, call (818) 676-4000.

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