Cancer can affect almost any part of the body. However, certain cancers are a lot more common than others. Spotting signs early can make treatment easier. Below are five of the most common cancers, the risk factors and some of the early signs to look out for.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer. It is not dangerous on its own, but it can spread to other more dangerous parts of the body if not treated quickly.
The biggest cause of skin cancer is UV damage from sunlight exposure. Wearing sun cream can greatly reduce your risk of developing skin cancer.
Skin cancer takes the form of melanomas. These are scaly uneven growths on the skin. Moles can turn into melanomas, so it’s worth checking your moles - if a mole has started growing or turning an odd color or shape, it could be a sign of skin cancer.
Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women. It can also affect men - 1 in 100 cases are men.
The cause of breast cancer is unknown. Unhealthy lifestyle habits like smoking, heavy drinking or poor diet may be risk factors, however it can also be genetic. It is more common in women over the age of 40.
By checking your breasts regularly, you can spot any lumps early. Regular breast screenings are also recommended for women over 40.
Lung cancer is the third most common cancer. It is also one of the most lethal forms of cancer.
Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. However, people who have never smoked can still develop lung cancer as a result of second-hand smoke, radon exposure, asbestos exposure (a type of lung cancer known as mesothelioma) or general pollution.
If you develop a persistent cough that seems to get worse, cough up blood or notice yourself struggling to breathe more, it could be worth seeing a doctor. When caught early, lung cancer is much easier to treat.
Bowel cancer is the fourth most common cancer. While many people are able to beat this cancer, it does still claim many lives.
Being overweight, consuming lots of alcohol or consuming a diet high in red meat are all risk factors of bowel cancer. Genetics can also play a part too.
Symptoms of bowel cancer include blood in stools, changes in bowel movements and stomach pain. Bowel cancer screening is worth looking into as you get older.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men and the fifth most common cancer overall. When caught early, treatment has a high success rate - however many men do not detect it early or ignore symptoms.
It is unknown as to what causes prostate cancer. However, you are more likely to get it in older age and being overweight can put you at added risk.
Signs of prostate cancer include trouble urinating, back pain, impotence and blood in urine/semen. It’s worth going for a prostate exam as you get older as you may be able to detect it early.