Types of Cancer

What are the most common types of cancer and why cancer becomes the number 1 killer worldwide? If you look at the causes of death worldwide, heart disease and cancer remain among the top killers worldwide. Since diseases like malnutrition and diarrheal illnesses have been almost wiped out in developed countries and are decreasing in the developing countries, cancer is taking an advanced position among deaths. As health institutions continue to improve their ability to treat heart disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, it is expected that cancer will become the number one killer in developed countries. 

Epidemiology of Most Common Types of Cancer - Worldwide

The biggest killer among cancer with lethal prognosis is lung cancer because of the lack of prophylactic screening. Lung cancer, when detected, is in an advanced stage. Followed by, breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. Colon and rectal cancer have a third place among all common cancers.  Although, we can be frightened by the statistic we cannot talk about the epidemic of cancer.

  1. Lung Cancer accounts for 13% of all people diagnosed with cancer
  2. Breast Cancer accounts for 12% of all people diagnosed with cancer
  3. Colon Cancer accounts for 10% of all people diagnosed with cancer
  4. Prostate Cancer accounts for 8% of all people diagnosed with cancer
  5. Stomach Cancer accounts for 7% of all people diagnosed with cancer
  6. Liver Cancer accounts for 6% of all people diagnosed with cancer 

Where Cancer starts in the Body / Most Common Types of Cancer

Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of mutated cells where the DNA is altered. This abnormal growth is classified according to the different tissues it arises from.                 

  • Carcinoma: Originate from epithelial tissues and can arise in the internal and external lining of the body.                           
  • Sarcoma: Originate from connective tissues and in connective tissue classification are bones, cartilage, tendons, muscles, and fat.
  • Leukemia: It originates from the bone marrow and it is a blood cancer.                                
  • Lymphoma: it is a cancer of the lymph system.

Determinants Contributing to Cancer / Most Common Types of Cancer

There are more than 100 kinds of cancer means 100 different oncogenes – It is what makes cancer a complex disease with different outcomes.The latest research is clarifying many different ways involved in the causes of this detrimental disease. They include a plethora of factors, ranging from Genetic factors you inherited from your parent, viruses, defected tumor suppressor genes, specific oncogenes, and changes in both DNA and RNA. In animals, many carcinogens (any substance capable of causing cancer) are identified but in human, it is much more difficult to prove because of the ethics in human trials. The geographical region we live in determines our environment and to what we are exposed on a daily basis. Some of the environmental factors may cause cancer to humans (physical, chemical, biological exposure). Last but not least our behavior and lifestyle are proved to cause potential harm and lead to cancer. All mentioned factors are determinants for neoplasm and they can be detrimental or beneficial to our health – Most of the times it depends on our behavior and lack of knowledge.   

Chemical Factors / Most Common Types of Cancer

Some chemicals substances and their derivates used at home or at the workplace may cause cancer. Here is a glimpse of some of those chemicals; Asbestos, used for insulation, is a material notorious for causing cancer – Mesothelioma and Lymphocytic Leukemia. Because of the health concerns, it has been banned in 50 countries since the 1970s but other countries such as China and Russia continue to produce and consume this toxic material in worrisome rates. The second chemical is Dioxin and it is a by-product formed while producing some herbicides and paper bleaching. The third and most common chemical causing cancer is Benzene. This chemical could be a result of forest fires, volcanoes activities, and cigarettes smoke. It is also widely used in the industry as a starter for producing plastic, nylons, lubricants, detergents, drugs, and pesticides.   

Physical Factors / Most Common Types of Cancer

Example of the physical factor causing cancer is environmental radiationUltraviolet  radiation or light from the sun is well-known for causing skin cancer – Melanoma. Another radiation is ionizing radiation – gamma rays – can cause DNA damage and leads to cancer. Physical irritants to the lining of the digestive system by some food can result in damage to the tissues and may cause cancer.

Viruses Causing Cancer / Most Common Types of Cancer

Human Papillomavirus (HPV) may cause cancer among women and men. This type of virus could be the etiology of 6 types of cancer found in different locations of the human body. Examples of those locations are the back of throat cancer, cervical cancer, anal cancer, vulvar cancer, penile cancer, and vaginal cancer. Both Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) are connected to cancer if the viral infection is left untreated. The two viruses may cause scarring in the liver known as cirrhosis and this damage can lead to liver cancer. Another virus is human T- Lymphotropic virus-1 and it is linked to lymphocytic leukemia. The Epstein-Barr is a herpes virus and it is also connected to lymphocytic leukemia.​ 


Molds - Aflatoxins

Aflatoxins are produced by certain molds in food. It is a kind of fungi found all over the world. This mold can contaminate food if favorable conditions exist. Molds thrive when temperatures and humidity are high. It can be found in molded nuts, decaying vegetations, and grains. Compounds produced by certain molds can cause liver damage and lead to cancer.  

Human Behavior

Pursuing healthy behavior doesn’t mean we will be immortal but being able to enjoy the time we have on earth. It is about avoiding disease, pain, and struggles. There are many ways to reduce your battles with the attacking diseases and it is called prevention. Prevention is about being proactive and controlling our demeanor or changing it for a better life. Many debilitating diseases are related to diet, lack of physical activities, smoking, and alcohol abuse. Cancer also has been linked to the all mentioned above. Having a role model lifestyle doesn’t exclude anyone of having cancer but it may let your body conquer cancer if you ever hosted this nasty disease.