Cancer is a common problem that affects more and more people each year. Cancer can affect any part of your body, but some forms are more common than others. If you would like to learn more to better protect yourself, check out three of the most common types of cancer.
1. Lung Cancer
Lung cancer affects the cells of the lungs, and it is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. Lung disease is often associated with smoking because smoking significantly increases the risk of lung cancer by damaging and contaminating the lungs, but even non-smokers are at risk. Symptoms include a persistent cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood, and hoarseness.
The two main categories of lung cancer are small cell and non-small cell. Small cell lung cancer is the less common form, and it usually only affects smokers. Non-small cell lung cancer is a catchall term for every other form of lung cancer, including large cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Treatment depends on the severity of the cancer. Some patients respond well to radiation and chemotherapy to kill the cancerous cells. In extreme cases, surgery may be required to remove some lung tissue or an entire lung.
2. Colon Cancer
Also known as colorectal cancer, colon cancer is mostly seen in older adults, but it can affect younger people too, especially if they have a family history of colon cancer or colon polyps. As the name suggests, colon cancer affects the cells of the large intestine.
While it is common, colon cancer screening has done a lot to help people catch this cancer early. During screening, your doctor looks for polyps that can indicate abnormal cells or turn into abnormal cells. In many cases, removing these polyps is enough to prevent colon cancer from developing.
If you believe you have colon cancer, you may notice changes in your bowel movements, rectal bleeding, persistent abdominal pain, and weakness. Surgery is often used for treating colon cancer, and the doctor may have to remove some or all of the colon.
3. Skin Cancer
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and it affects the layers of your skin. As with other forms of cancer, there are many types of skin cancer, such as melanoma, and basal cell skin cancer. Most symptoms of skin cancer are visual, so look for abnormal bumps, discolorations, or wounds.
Like all forms of cancer, skin cancer develops when there are mutations in cells. Because of this and because of the location of your skin, UV rays from the sun and tanning beds are notorious for damaging skin cells and causing cancer. In fact, having a history of sunburns increases your risk of skin cancer in the future.
Treatment for skin cancer comes in many forms and depends on the type. In some cases, the doctor can freeze away actinic keratosis with liquid nitrogen. In other cases, portions of skin tissue need to be removed. Naturally, with most forms of cancer, radiation therapy and chemotherapy may be recommended.
Cancer is a real threat, and there are many types. In many cases, your own habits and actions increase your risk, but anyone can develop cancer at any time. For more information, contact a cancer center.