How Common is Cancer and How to Prevent It

 In Cancer Prevention

Cancer is a word we hear a lot. We worry about getting cancer from our food, from secondhand smoke and even from our pets. But how common is cancer? Here, we answer all of your questions regarding how common cancer is and how to prevent it.

How common is cancer?

According to, approximately 39.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives.

In the United States, cancer is second behind heart disease as the leading cause of death. There are many kinds of cancer and some are more common than others, including breast cancer, lung cancer​​ and prostate cancer.

Cancer is common worldwide, affecting about 1 in 3 people during their lifetime (about 80 million people currently alive have or have had cancer). This statistic includes all types of malignancies, including blood cancers like leukemia, lymphomas, gastric cancers; head/neck cancers; lung cancers including bronchogenic carcinoma, liver cancer; joint/skin cancers.

How many people get diagnosed with cancer?

In 2022, an estimated 1.9 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 609,360 cancer deaths will occur in the U.S, according to

Globally, there were 17 million new cases of cancer diagnosed and 9.5 million cancer deaths in 2018. That number is expected to grow to 27.5 million new cases and 16.3 million deaths by 2040 due to the growth and aging of the population.

Most importantly, what can we do to prevent it?

According to American Cancer Society research, at least 42 percent of new cancers are potentially avoidable.

Here are tips on how to prevent cancer:

Don’t use tobacco

Using any type of tobacco product increases your cancer risk. Smoking is linked to bladder, cervix, kidney, larynx, lung, mouth, pancreas and throat cancers. Chewing tobacco is connected to cancer of the pancreas and oral cavity. Even secondhand smoke exposure increases your lung cancer risk.

Have a healthy diet

  • Your diet should consist of beans, vegetables, fruits, whole grains and other foods derived from plants. Try not to choose high-calorie foods, such as fat from animal products and refined sugars.
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation. Breast, colon, kidney, liver and lung cancer risk increases with how long and often you’ve been drinking alcohol and the amount you drink.
  • Processed meats increase cancer risk, according to the World Health Organization’s cancer agency called the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Limit the amount you’re eating of it.

Exercise and keep a healthy weight

Exercising helps you control your weight and lowers breast and colon cancer risk. Try to get 30 minutes of exercise per day.

A healthy weight lowers cancer risk for cancers of the colon, lung, breast, kidney and prostate.

Prevent too much sun exposure

One of the most common types of cancer is skin cancer. To protect yourself from the sun:

  • Limit tanning bed and sunlamp use, as they damage your skin as much as natural sunlight.
  • Cover exposed areas by clothing your skin thoroughly. Bright or dark colors beat bleached cotton or pastels because they reflect ultraviolet radiation better.
  • Keep out of the sun when the sun and its rays are blazing, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Even when the clouds are out, make sure to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. Apply and reapply sunscreen every two hours or sooner if you’re sweating.
  • When outdoors, stick to the shade whenever possible.

Get medical care often

Get regular exams and screenings for breast, cervix, colon and skin cancer. It increases the chances of early cancer detection (when you’re most likely to have successful treatment).

Cancer treatment in the Triangle

Personalized Hematology-Oncology provides comprehensive oncology consultation for all types of cancer. Our expertise includes chemotherapy, molecular targeted therapies, and infusion administration while managing the patient’s doses, side effects and response to therapy. Contact us for more information or to make an oncology consultation appointment.


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