Adult Cancers

More than one in four people will have cancer during their lifetime, and after heart disease cancer is now the most common cause of death in western countries. Adult cancer is a diverse range of different diseases. The chart below shows the distribution of different cancer sites (male and female combined) from Kentucky (USA) in 1993 based on data provided by the Kentucky Cancer Registry.

The incidence and types of cancer varies between and also within different countries. It will depend on demographic (population), environmental and other factors. For example there are differences in cancer incidence between different racial groups, diet and climate may also influence cancer incidence. In particular the age distribution of the population will influence the incidence of different types of cancer. The peak incidence of many adult cancers is after the age of 45 (eg. lung, breast and prostate cancer). Other cancers such as bone tumours, Hodgkin's disease, and cervical cancer are more common in younger adults. Leukaemia is found in people of all ages and is one of the most common type of cancers in adults aged under 35. Age specific cancer incidence rates are shown below (for all types of cancer combined).

Cancers can arise in different parts of the body. lung cancer is one of the most common cancers in both men and women, and smoking is known to increase a persons risk for this disease. Cancers associated with the digestive system include colorectal cancer (colon / rectum) and cancers of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, and other organs. Haematological malignancies (cancers of the blood, plasma and marrow) include leukaemia and myelomas. Lymphomas are classified as either Hodgkin's or non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Thyroid cancer is the most common type of tumour in the endocrine system (hormones), while brain and spinal tumours are found in the central nervous system. Associated with the urinary system are bladder and kidney cancers. Sarcomas (bone, soft tissue, or connective tissue tumours) are related to the musculoskeletal system. Skin cancers include melanoma and basal cell carcinoma. Head and neck cancers include those of the oral and nasal cavities.

Some cancers are particular to men and women. Breast cancer is one of the most common neoplasms, predominantly found in women (1% are in males). Associated with the female reproductive system are cervical, ovarian, and other genealogical cancers. In men prostate cancer is one of the major neoplasms, other cancers of the male reproductive system iclude testis and penile cancer.

Adapted from a page About Cancer.

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