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Top 12 Cancers in the United States

Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.  Cancer may be caused by genetic mutations, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors.  Environmental and lifestyle factors that may increase the risk of developing cancer include smoking, heavy alcohol use, obesity, lack of exercise, unhealthy diet, and exposure to pollution.  Most cancers develop in older individuals.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), 78-percent of all cancer diagnoses are in individuals 55-years of age and older. Cancer is the second leading causing of death in the U.S.  In 2015, approximately 1,658,370 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S.  The top 12 cancers in the U.S. are…


1. Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer among women in the U.S.  The ACS estimates there will be 231,840 new cases of invasive breast cancer diagnosed among women in the U.S. by the end of 2015 and an estimated 40,290 deaths as a result of breast cancer in 2015.  It ranks second, only to lung cancer, as a cause of cancer death among women.

Risk factors for breast cancer include female gender, older age, heredity (BRCA1 and BRCA 2 genes), obesity, long-term use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), radiation to chest before age 30 to treat another cancer, and family history or personal history of breast cancer.  Mutations in the BRCA 1 and BRCA 2 genes are the most common cause of hereditary breast cancer. Today, genetic testing is available to detect mutations in these genes.  The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends biennial screening mammography for women aged 50 to 74-years.

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