Each year cancer claims the lives of roughly 7.3 million people worldwide. The rough total of American deaths from that number is 600,000. With this number cancer becomes the second cause of death behind heart disease in the United States.
Cancer in Children
Children are at risk for a number of cancers starting immediately at birth. The most common cancers for children (in order) are leukemia, brain tumors, and lymphoma. Unfortunately and terrifyingly little is known about how or why a child develops leukemia. Excessive or a reaction to radiation is certainly a cause but it is usually a case of genetics. It is very rare for more than one child per extended family to have leukemia. Little is also known about brain tumors in kids except that it is more common in white males under the age of 8 years old and that genetics may be in play. A predisposition to lymphoma is also thought to be almost exclusively genetic.
Cancer in Men
American males are at most risk for prostate cancer, then lung cancer then colorectal cancer. Each share certain factors for predisposition yet maintain separate ones as well. Prostate cancer risk increases with age as it does if a man works around or with many toxins or chemicals. Genetics plays a role in all three as there are theories about predispositions to cancer in the genes. For lung cancer obviously smoking is the first leading cause of a cancer diagnosis with secondhand smoke being second and asbestos fibers, radon gas, and genetics trailing in order behind. Those with a history of polyps, colitis, or most importantly a family history of the disease are most at risk for colorectal cancer. This plays into how many people die from cancer each year.
Cancer in Women
Women are most likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Like men, lung cancer is the second leading cause. Caucasian women are then most like to find colorectal cancer while black and Asian/Pacific Island women are more likely to be diagnosed with colorectal cancer after breast cancer, then lung cancer. The fourth leading cancer diagnosis among all American women is uterine cancer. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death for women between 45 and 60 years old and is widely believed to be genetic so it is important to be mindful if this is in your family’s history. Uterine cancer is strongly related to family history as well. Much less is known about this cancer so it is important to talk to your doctor and see if any of the risk factors apply to you.
Get Regular Checkups
It is very important to maintain a regular and open dialogue with your doctor. Have a thorough checkup at least once per year and visit your doctor as soon as you feel or notice any warning. You can prevent becoming a statistic of how many people die from cancer each year. Discuss preventative medicine with your doctor and talk to your family to see what genetic risks to look out for.
"Men's health: Preventing your top 10 threats"
"Leading Causes of Death in Females United States, 2006"
"How many people die from cancer each year"
"Hodgkin's Lymphoma in children"