Lifestyle – The 11 Most Common Cancers in the US

Cancer has a major impact on our lives, whether it has happened to oneself, to someone in the family, or in the neighborhood. Most people know of someone in their vicinity who has been diagnosed with the disease. Cancer cases are rapidly increasing and there are more than 100 kinds of cancers recognized by medical science till date. Some of them are more common than the others depending upon factors like age, gender, ethnicity, lifestyle habits, etc. For instance, prostate cancer only affects men, while breast cancer is typically specific to women. While the list of cancer types may be long, most of them are highly rare and only occur to people with specific conditions. However, there are some types of cancer, which are particularly common, especially in the US. Here’s a list of the 11 most common cancers in the US and their specific signs or symptoms.

  1. Non-melanoma Skin Cancer

The most common form of cancer in the US is non-melanoma skin cancer, which includes squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma. As per the prevailing reports, it affects more than a million Americans every year.

Common symptoms of Non-melanoma skin cancer are as follows:

  • Reappearing sores, or not healing at all
  • Red patches on the skin
  • Formation of lumps that can be small and shiny, usually red or pink
  • Scar-like pale, flat areas on the skin

Squamous cell carcinoma typically forms in areas that have been repeatedly exposed to sunlight, like the face. Basal cell carcinoma, on the other hand, tends to grow on the head, face, neck, and torso.

  1. Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the second most common type of cancer prevailing in the US.

Its common symptoms are as follows:

  • Formation of a lump or mass in the breasts, or around the collarbone
  • Swelling in the breasts
  • Irritation, dimpling, thickening, or redness of the skin on or around the breasts
  • Pain in the nipple(s)
  • Discharge that isn’t breast milk
  • Nipple retraction (turned inwards)

Sometimes, these signs can happen even when you don’t have breast cancer. That’s why it is important to consult a physician whenever you notice any such changes in your breasts.

  1. Lung Cancer

Lung cancer is the third most common type of cancer that affects people in the US. It mostly happens due to unhealthy lifestyle habits such as smoking, exposure to asbestos fibers, radon gas, etc.

Common symptoms of lung cancer include:

  • Persistent coughing
  • Coughing up blood
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Hoarseness or change in voice
  • Lung infections (pneumonia or bronchitis)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Blood clots

Lung cancer doesn’t usually exhibit symptoms until it is in its advanced stage. This is primarily because the lungs have a fewer nerve endings, so the tumors can grow in that region without causing much pain.

  1. Prostate Cancer

Fourth in the list is prostate cancer that typically affects only the men. Prostate cancer usually does not exhibit any early warning signs. But, when it does, it’s best to seek medical assistance right away to avoid any kind of life-threatening implications.

Common symptoms are as follows:

  • Problem while urinating like leaking or interrupted flow or a sudden urge
  • Feeling of a burning sensation during peeing
  • Frequent peeing, especially during the night
  • Trouble getting an erection
  • Pain during ejaculation or reduced amount of fluid ejaculated
  • Blood in ejaculation fluid or urine
  • Pain in the rectum

Oncologists recommend that men above the age of 55 years should regularly get tested for this disease.

  1. Colon and Rectal Cancer

Also known as colorectal cancer, statistics suggest that more than 1.4 million colon and rectal cancer cases are registered in the US every year.

Its common symptoms include:

  • Unexpected weight loss
  • Fatigue, weakness and exhaustion
  • Constipation, diarrhea, or narrow stool
  • Bleeding in rectum or stool

Bowel cancer may not always cause visible symptoms until it is in its advanced stage.

  1. Melanoma

A cancer type that originates in the skin, it nearly affects 90,000 individuals in the US every year!

Its common symptoms are as mentioned-below:

  • Asymmetrical moles or marks on the skin
  • A freckle that with a brown, black, white, red, pink, or even blue color.
  • A mole or mark which is red, white, or blue in color
  • A quickly growing mole that has changed color and/ or shape
  • Bleeding, itching, or crusting moles on the skin

Melanoma often causes changes that are quite visible on the skin. Most doctors recommend that you examine your skin all over the body at least once a month for any potential signs of skin disease.

  1. Bladder Cancer

This is another common cancer type which affects more than 80,000 individuals each year. While it was once a rare condition, today, it sits amid the top life-engulfing cancer types known to medical science.

Symptoms of bladder cancer are as follows:

  • Blood in the pee making it pink, red, or orange in color
  • Trouble in urinating
  • Weak urine stream or pain in urination
  • Not being able to urinate at all

While these symptoms do indicate the presence of cancer in the bladder, these also coincide with many other related conditions. So, if you experience such symptoms, getting screened is the best way to confirm or deny bladder cancer.

  1. Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of cancer that originates in the lymphatic system of the body, which is the disease-fighting network spread throughout the human system.

Common symptoms of this cancer type include:

  • Lymph nodes get enlarged, feeling like lumps under the skin
  • Unintentional loss of weight
  • Permanent feeling of fatigue
  • Chills, sweating, or fever
  • Abdomen gets swollen
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shortness of breath or a repeated cough
  • Chest pain

This is a common form of childhood cancer, but can affect adults as well. It can occur in different regions of the body, which means that the symptoms can also vary. For instance, lymphoma in the abdomen may cause pain in the gut, while lymphoma in the skin may cause itchy lumps.

  1. Kidney Cancer

This cancer first appears in the tubules in the kidney and then spreads to other parts. However, the good news here is that kidney cancer often gets detected before it starts to spread to other organs. This means that if it’s diagnosed at an early stage, it can be cured completely.

Common symptoms of kidney cancer are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Feeling of pain in one side of the lower back without any injury
  • Formation of a lump on one side of the lower back
  • Feeling of fatigue that doesn’t really go
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Persistent fever
  1. Leukemia

Leukemia is the cancer of the blood and/or the bone marrow. It typically occurs when there is a problem with the production of blood cells in the body.

Its common symptoms include:

  • Swelling in the lymph nodes
  • Liver enlargement
  • Enlargement of the spleen
  • Frequent nose bleeding
  • Tiny red spots on the skin
  • Pain in the bones

Since leukemia can affect many parts of the human body, its signs and symptoms also vary from one individual to the other. It is, therefore, recommended to get tested for leukemia at the earliest when these symptoms begin to appear.

  1. Pancreatic Cancer

This is yet another form of cancer that doesn’t really exhibit any visible signs or symptoms until the disease reaches an advanced stage.

Common signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer are:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen or back
  • Feeling of depression
  • Clotting of blood
  • Jaundice