Top 10 Cancers in the United States
1. Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide with 1.8 million deaths per year. It is more common in people who have never smoked than those who have smoked for many years and can be caused by radon gas, asbestos, and air pollution.
Lung cancer is usually diagnosed after the tumor has grown large enough to cause symptoms. Symptoms can include a cough that doesn't go away, chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath at rest or with activity, hoarseness or unexplained voice changes, fatigue or loss of energy, weight loss without trying to lose weight, and recurring pneumonia.
There are a number of risk factors for lung cancer such as smoking cigarettes; being exposed to secondhand smoke; living in an area with high levels of radon gas; working around asbestos.
This disease can be treated by surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or a combination of the three.
Surgery is the most common treatment for lung cancer because it can usually be completed in one operation. After surgery, doctors use CT and PET scans to see if there are any remaining tumor cells in other parts of your body. Chemotherapy uses drugs to kill cancer cells or stop them from growing and dividing while radiation therapy uses high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells with a beam of radiation aimed at the tumor site from outside your body.
Radiation therapy can be administered through external beam radiotherapy, which targets tumors on or near the surface of your body from outside your skin. It can also be administered through implantable radiopharmaceutical.
2. Breast Cancer
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer in women. It is also the second most common cause of death from cancer in women, after lung cancer.
The incidence of breast cancer varies widely and can be related to factors such as age, genetic factors, reproductive history and lifestyle choices. In developed countries, breast cancer is one of the most common cancers diagnosed among women with an average age of diagnosis being 61 years old.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month takes place each October to help educate people about this disease and prevention strategies. Awareness efforts are intended to encourage regular screening for all women so that it may be detected early on when it can often be cured more easily than if left undetected until a later stage where treatment options are limited.
The main symptoms of breast cancer are a lump, an area that is hard or painless, a nipple discharge, or skin irritation on the breast. Other less common but still possible indicators are dimpling in the skin of the breast or nipple discharge from only one side. Risk factors for breast cancer include being female, age over 50 years old, high-fat diet, use of postmenopausal hormones, and excessive alcohol consumption.
Breast Cancer treatment is a process used to cure breast cancer or prevent it from spreading. There are four main types of breast cancer treatments - surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. Some hospitals offer more than four treatments to their patients since they have the resources that allow them to do that. Surgery is the most common type of treatment because it can cure more than 80% of people who have invasive ductal carcinoma while also providing relief from pain in many cases.
3. Colon & Rectal Cancer
Colon cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the colon. Rectal cancer is a type of cancer that begins in the rectum.
In the US, about 60% of people with colorectal cancers are diagnosed at an early stage, and about 95% are still alive five years after diagnosis.
The first symptom is often bleeding from the rectum, which can be bright red or dark. Other symptoms include:
- Abdominal pain
- Unexplained weight loss
- A feeling of fullness after eating a small meal
Treatment for Colon & Rectal cancer is dependent on the stage at which it has been detected. Treatment methods vary from one person to another depending on how a person’s body responds to treatment and how well it fights off any remaining cancer cells.
If someone has been diagnosed with Colon & Rectal cancer there are several treatments available that can help with this condition. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and immunotherapy are some of these treatments. The best option for a patient is dependent on their age, other health conditions and type of tumor.
4. Prostate Cancer
The prostate is a gland that produces fluid that helps to carry sperm. It is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. The prostate produces part of the fluid that makes up semen. Prostate cancer usually develops slowly and often does not cause any symptoms until it has grown quite large, so it can be difficult to detect at early stages.
Multiple factors may increase your risk for developing prostate cancer: age, race, ethnicity, diet, family history, lifestyle habits such as smoking and obesity and others.
If detected early enough, most cases of prostate cancer can be successfully treated with surgery or radiation therapy; however advanced stages may require more aggressive treatments like hormone therapy or chemotherapy.
There are some signs of prostate cancer such as:
- Difficulty in urinating, when you need to get up at night to pass urine, or if your urine flow is weak or slow;
- Discomfort or pain when you pass urine;
- A feeling that your bladder hasn't emptied fully after you've passed urine;
- Blood in the urine or semen;
- An ache in the lower back and pelvis, which can be worse at night
There are many treatments for prostate cancer according to the stage of the disease, such as surgery, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. Hormone therapy can be used to control symptoms and treat advanced stages of prostate cancer by reducing levels of testosterone.
Medical professionals recommend hormones as an option for treatment because it has fewer side effects than other treatments like surgery or radiation therapy.
5. Kidney & Renal Cell Carcinoma
Renal cell carcinomas are the most common type of kidney cancers. They account for about 90% of all kidney cancers and the most common cause of death from renal cancer is local spread to other organs. There are two major types, clear cell and chromophobe.
Kidney cancer is a very complex disease where an individual's risk factors can be genetic, environmental exposures, or their personal lifestyle choices. There is no single known cause for this cancer but there are many risk factors that can increase one's chance of developing it. These include genetics, smoking, obesity, radiation exposure, occupational exposure to chemicals such as benzene or formaldehyde, and some medications such as ACE inhibitors or NSAIDs.
The symptoms of this condition include: new blood in the urine, extreme thirst, increased urination, low appetite, nausea and vomiting, loss of weight.
The treatment for these tumors can be surgical resection, partial nephrectomy, or nephron-sparing surgery.
Surgical resection is the most commonly used treatment for renal cell carcinomas. The procedure is usually a radical nephrectomy which removes the entire kidney and a large part of the surrounding tissue, lymph nodes, and other organs that may be cancerous. A radical nephrectomy may also involve an iliac lumbar lymph node dissection (ILND).
Partial nephrectomy is a surgery that removes part of one or both kidneys with a much smaller margin than with radical nephrectomy.
6. Thyroid Gland Cancer
Thyroid gland cancer is the most common form of endocrine cancer in the United States. It is estimated that more than 50,000 Americans will be diagnosed with this disease this year, and approximately 25% of them will die from it.
This type of cancer starts in the cells of the thyroid gland. Due to its location at body’s front neck region, thyroid cancers are easily accessible to imaging methods such as CT scanning and MRI scans. The tumors can spread through lymphatic or blood vessels into other parts of the body such as lungs or collarbone.
The majority of these cancers are shaped like a lump on one side of neck. As they grow bigger, they may be visible outside your neck area and closer to your voice box or ears.
The most common symptoms of thyroid cancer are a goiter, difficulty swallowing, hoarseness and voice change. The following table provides a list of other symptoms:
Difficulty breathing or swallowing
Hoarseness in voice when speaking, coughing, or laughing
Voice change (hoarseness) when speaking, coughing, or laughing -Hoarseness in voice when speaking, coughing, or laughing
Painless enlargement of the neck lump (goiter) that may cause trouble with breathing and swallowing
Thyroid cancer is one of the most common cancers, but it also has the highest cure rate. Treatment for thyroid cancer can be done in a couple of ways. It can be treated with radioactive iodine, surgery, chemotherapy, and hormone therapy.
Radioactive iodine treatments are common and are usually the first treatment option used for patients with thyroid cancer. This is a small amount of radioactive iodine that’s put into a liquid solution and taken by mouth or injected into the thyroid gland. Radioactive iodine treats some types of thyroid cancer by destroying cells that produce hormones thyroxine and triiodothyronine (thyroid hormones).
Surgery may be needed if the result from an imaging test suggests that lymph nodes in your neck or chest are enlarged because they contain cancer cells from another part of your body.
7. Melanoma of the Skin
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States, and melanoma is among the most deadly. This type of skin cancer can affect any one, regardless of their skin color.
The use of sunscreen for prevention is key to avoiding this disease. However, sunburns are not the only way to develop this type of cancer. UV radiation from tanning beds, which produce UVA and UVB radiation that penetrates deeply into the skin, can also cause melanoma, according to an article from American Academy of Dermatology (AAD).
The AAD advises against using artificial tanning sources such as tanning beds or sun lamps because they have been shown to double a person’s risk for developing melanoma.
Melanoma is the most serious form of skin cancer. Some melanoma symptoms are:
Change in size, shape, or color
Broken skin that doesn't heal
Itching and scaling
Painful ulcers with a reddened base that don't heal
Open sores or wounds that won't heal
If doctors find that there is still cancerous growth in or near your lymph nodes, they'll often recommend adjuvant treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy after surgery--even if it’s been more than 12 months since your last treatment for melanoma.
8. Leukemia/Lymphoma combo cancerous diagnosis
Leukemia/Lymphoma combo cancerous diagnosis is a rare type of leukemia. It is also known as "Hairy Cell Leukemia" and is a type of cancer. This cancer targets the blood cells, which makes up the immune system. The cells that are targeted are called lymphocytes and are found in the bone marrow. Symptoms may include fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, frequent infections or colds, enlarged spleen or liver and itchy skin.
The symptoms for leukemia/lymphoma combo cancerous diagnosis can be very similar to other types of cancers such as Hodgkin's Lymphoma or Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma; consequently this diagnosis might not be given quickly. It can take anywhere from 2 months to 3 years for this diagnosis.
Symptoms of leukemia and lymphoma are not the same. The symptoms for leukemia is usually fever, night sweats, bone tenderness, and fatigue. The symptoms of lymphoma are usually weight loss, fever, night sweats, and bone pain.
Overall, some common symptoms of these two cancers are fatigue and decreased appetite for both cancers. There is a lot of overlap in the symptoms the two cancers have so it can be difficult to distinguish one from the other.
9. Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a cancer that starts in the lymphatic system. It can be either a slow or a fast growing cancer depending on which type of cell it starts in. There are about twenty different types of Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, but they share some common symptoms and treatments.
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is not as common as other cancers, but it still occurs often enough that people should learn how to spot it and what to do if they think they have it. Early detection can increase the odds that treatment will be successful.
- The signs and symptoms of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma can vary from person to person. They can include:
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Swollen neck or underarms (paraesthesia)
- Painless lumps on skin or in the neck (lymphadenopathy)
- Mouth ulcers (mucositis)
- Pale skin, listless mood, poor appetite, weight loss
10. Pancreatic cancer
Pancreatic cancer is a disease that originates in the pancreas. Approximately 20% of all cases are diagnosed at an early stage and the five-year survival rate is about 60%. There are two main types: exocrine and endocrine, which differ in their cell type, growth pattern, and response to treatment.Exocrine pancreatic cancer more commonly starts in the ducts that drain pancreatic fluid from the pancreas. Endocrine pancreatic cancer can start in either of two different ways. It can be caused by tumors on one or both sides of the tissue connecting the stomach, duodenum, and pancreas called the ampulla of Vater or it can be caused by tumors that originate elsewhere in the body but have spread to this location. Pancreatic cancer is often overlooked because of its vague symptoms and late diagnosis. If you have been noticing any of the following, then it is important to get checked out by your doctor:
- Weight loss without trying
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme tiredness
- Joint pain or stiffness
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Abdominal swelling or bloating
- Surgery: Removal of part or all of the pancreas and nearby organs
- Radiation therapy: Destroying tumor cells from a distance with high-energy rays
- Chemotherapy: Treatment with chemicals designed to kill fast-growing cells, such as those found in cancerous tumors
- Targeted therapy medications: Drugs that target specific genes or proteins found in some cancers