The Most Common Types of Cancer You Could Get In Your Lifetime

If you haven’t dealt with a cancer diagnosis personally, you probably know someone who has. That’s because cancer affects millions of Americans every single year. Some forms are rarer than others, but it’s a fairly widespread health condition doctors treat more and more successfully as the decades pass.

Your chances¬†of developing any type of cancer depend on a number of factors — many of them habits such as diet and exercise. But a lot of the time, it’s impossible to predict whether or not it will happen to you or someone you know. It might be a more common disease than you think.

Here are the top five most common types of cancer among Americans.

5. Colorectal cancer

Stomach pain

Stomach pain | iStock.com/champja

Colorectal cancer has an over 90% five-year survival rate in its earliest stage. About 1 in 23 women and one in 21 men in the United States will develop this type of cancer in their lifetime. Thankfully, death rates are on the decline. Screening tests performed periodically beyond the age of 45 catch more possible cases every year.

You can lower your colorectal cancer risk through screenings, exercising and eating well, and monitoring your alcohol intake.

4. Prostate cancer

This is the most common cancer among men, but it’s highly treatable if caught early. It’s rare for those under 45, and risk increases beyond the age of 50.

As with colorectal cancer, regular screenings offer the most protection against prostate cancer. Some research also suggests that diets high in red meat and high-fat dairy products could increase your risk, but more research is needed to fully understand the link.

3. Breast cancer

Second to skin cancer, this is the most common type diagnosed in women each year. Over the years, survival rates have improved, and death rates have gone down. This is largely due to increased awareness and research.

Breast cancer is most common in women, but it can affect men, too. Anyone can decrease their risk by managing their weight, exercising regularly, and performing self-exams to check for abnormal changes.

2. Lung cancer

Coughing

Coughing | Highwaystarz-Photography/Getty Images

Though it’s not the most common diagnosis, lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among both men and women. Cigarette smoking is the primary risk factor, but passive smoking can also increase your risk.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find this type of cancer early enough to merit high survival rates. By the time doctors discover it, it’s often too late.

1. Nonmelanoma skin cancer

This is the most common type of skin cancer among Caucasians, and the most prevalent form of cancer nationwide. It may be the most common, but it’s also the most treatable. It’s extremely rare to die from nonmelanoma skin cancer.

Sun exposure is a common risk factor for this type of cancer. But massive exposure to ultraviolet light from tanning beds also significantly increases your risk of developing this type of cancer.

There are many things you can do to decrease your cancer risk — and many things you can’t. Thankfully, your risk for many of the types on this list can be lowered with a few simple changes and regular doctor visits.

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