Overall for both children and adults (ages 0 to 19), in the United States, most common types of cancer are childhood and adolescent cancers, which include leukemia, acute lymphocytic leukemia or lymphomas, Hodgkin's disease, and multiple myeloma. Leukemia is the most widespread of all childhood and adolescent cancers. The risk of childhood leukemia increases with age and some ethnic groups are more prone to childhood leukemia than others. Children and adolescents who suffer from a family history of leukemia are particularly at greater risk for childhood leukemia. However, people who have other family members who have had leukemia, as well as people who have a personal history of leukemia are also at increased risk.
Two of the most common cancers among adults are colon and lung cancers. In general, cancers that occur in adults (which account for approximately 90 percent of all cancers) occur in people who are older than 50 years. The two most common types of cancer that affect adults are non-Hodgkins lymphoma and colon cancer.
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In addition, adults can have a greater risk for non-Hodgkins lymphoma or lymphomas of the cervix and vagina. For women, breast cancers account for approximately half of all cases; melanoma, Hodgkin's disease, lung and colorectal cancers, and other types of cancers that don't occur in the skin are responsible for the other percentage. More commonly, melanoma occurs in black individuals, Asian individuals, and white individuals. While genital cancers occur predominantly in blacks and Asians, they are not as common in whites.
One of the least common cancers among young adults is skin cancer. Sangeroids and squamous cell carcinomas are the two most common types of skin cancer. Genital warts and hook and finger infections are also common in this age group. As with many types of cancer, skin cancer is the most commonly reported cancer among young adults.
The risk for childhood cancers generally increases with age. However, there is a decrease in risk for those who are young at age 20. There is also an increase in risk for those who were exposed to certain chemicals such as pesticides and other industrial pollutants during their childhood. These chemicals are known to cause damage to the DNA within cells and can result in cancers caused by abnormal cell growth.
Mesothelioma, the most aggressive type of cancer, occurs mostly in older adults. In fact, it accounts for more than one-third of all mesothelioma deaths. This disease occurs when the mesothelium, the covering of organs such as the chest and lungs, grows too quickly for its own protective protection. Mesothelioma cancer can spread to other parts of your body once it has reached the lungs or any other organ.
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Some of the common cancers occur in younger people as they grow and develop. One of these is lung cancer. Lung cancer occurs mostly in older adults. Some types of this disease may even begin in early childhood. For example, if someone had been constantly exposed to asbestos as he grew up, there is a good chance that he may develop lung cancer some day.
Yet another type of cancer that is common in older adults is testicular cancer. This type of cancer usually affects men. It can also affect women, but is more likely to occur in men. The majority of testicular cancer cases tend to be non fatalities.
Yet another type of cancer that tends to affect older women is breast cancer. This can also be found mostly in older women. There is a difference between rectal and breast cancer, however. Rectal cancer, which can also be found in younger men, does not usually start in the anal area. Instead, it starts in the lining of the organs that make up the rectum. Breast cancer, on the other hand, often starts in the inner linings of the breasts.
Other types of cancer that tend to affect younger people are bone cancers, such as osteosarcoma and breast cancer. Bone cancers tend to affect young adults. They usually occur after the bone tumors have already begun to spread. Again, there are differences between bone cancers and other forms of cancer, but this type of cancer is more common among middle aged and older adults.
Most of the time, the risk factors for these different types of cancers are still unknown. It is possible that they change over time. Research is ongoing and more information will certainly be added in the future. The best thing you can do is to know your risk factors and talk to your doctor if you think you have one.
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