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Different Types of Cancer in the Human Body

written by: Vikas Vij • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 2/16/2011

It is important to have an awareness of the different types of cancer. Basic information about commonly found cancers in the human body can help to understand the disease better.

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    Common Forms of Cancer

    There are many different types of cancer that may develop in the human body. The precise cause of their occurrence largely remains a subject of medical research, but there are several known factors that may contribute to their development. Some of the common forms of cancer found in humans include lung cancer, breast cancer, melanoma, bladder cancer, prostate cancer, colorectal cancer, renal cell cancer, pancreatic cancer, endometrial cancer, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma and leukemia.

    The most common types of cancer seen in the United States is lung cancer, with more than 200,000 patients being diagnosed with the disease each year. The cancer with the lowest incidence among the commonly found cancers in the United States is leukemia. Each year more than 40,000 people are diagnosed with leukemia.

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    Cancers with the Highest Incidence

    Among the different types of cancer, lung cancer has shown the highest incidence in the U.S. It is a cancer that develops in the lung tissue, particularly in the air passage lining. This cancer is broadly divided into small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer. The differentiation can be made on the basis of the appearance of the cells. New cases diagnosed with both types of lung cancer in 2010 in the United States are estimated to be 222,520, and an estimated 157,300 deaths occurred during the same period from this disease.

    Another common form of cancer, typically found in women, though it may also occur in men in rare cases, is breast cancer. This cancer mostly develops in the ducts and lobules of the breast tissue. An estimated 207,090 new cases of women and 1,970 new cases of men were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010. Colorectal cancer also has a high incidence in the U.S., with 102,900 new cases of colon cancer and 39,670 new cases of rectal cancer being diagnosed in 2010. Another cancer with a high incidence among men is prostate cancer, which had an estimated 217,730 new cases diagnosed in 2010.

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    Cancers with Moderate Incidence

    Among the common forms of cancers, bladder cancer has a relatively moderate incidence. This cancer originates in the bladder tissue, and in most cases it is a transitional cell carcinoma. The other types of bladder cancer are squamous cell carcinoma and adenocarcinoma. 70,530 new cases of bladder cancer were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010. Kidney cancer is another moderately common cancer with 58,240 new cases diagnosed in 2010 in the U.S. This cancer can be divided into renal cell carcinoma and renal pelvis carcinoma.

    Melanoma cancer develops in the cells that produce melanin pigment. An estimated 68,130 new cases of melanoma were detected in the U.S. in 2010. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma also has a similar incidence as melanoma cancer, with 65,540 new cases being diagnosed in the U.S. in 2010. This cancer can develop from B-cells or T-cells. There are various types of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma which may range from indolent to aggressive.

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    Cancers with Low Incidence

    Cancers such as endometrial cancer are fairly common, but in relative terms they have a lower incidence compared to other more common cancers. Endometrial, or uterine cancer, occurs in the tissue lining of the uterus. An estimated 43,470 cases of this cancer were diagnosed in 2010 in the United States.

    Leukemia is another cancer with low incidence among the most commonly found cancers. It begins in the blood forming tissue and results in an abnormal increase in the number of blood cells. An estimated 43,050 new cases of leukemia were detected in the U.S. in 2010. Pancreatic cancer also has a similar incidence rate as leukemia, with 43,140 new cases being detected during the same period. This form of cancer occurs in the pancreas tissue.