Most people don’t know this, but there are about 200 different types of cancer that can attack the body so it’s easy to see why a large percentage of people will be affected by some form of cancer during their lifetime.
In men, the most common forms are lung, colon and prostate cancer with the survival rate varying among the different types.
Throughout the U.S and the rest of the world lung cancer is the leading cause of death among men, and in 2007 more than 200,000 men were diagnosed and began undergoing treatment for the disease.
In the same year, more than 160,000 lost their battle with the disease which is more than the number of deaths associated with colon and prostate cancer combined. So what causes lung cancer?
Oncologist, Dr. Kumud Tripathy says, "Smoking, smoking, smoking, smoking. Probably 95% of all lung cancers are caused by smoking."
It’s estimated that tobacco smoking causes 80-percent of lung cancer deaths in men, with the two main types being Small Cell Lung Cancer and Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.
Cancer occurs when normal cells undergo a transformation that causes them to grow and multiply without the normal controls. Those cells then form a mass or tumor that differs from the surrounding tissues.
While the stats surrounding lung cancer are scary, doctors also say it’s the most preventable type of cancer.
"Cancer is an expensive disease to treat. If we can reduce the incidents by 50% by not smoking then just think of all the lives we'll save," Tripathy says.
The second most diagnosed cancer in men is prostate cancer killing about 500 American men each week…that means in a year’s time, 25,000 men will die in the U.S. alone.
But the good news is that the outlook for men diagnosed with prostate cancer is better than ever.
Tripathy says, " 80% of the patients over the age of 80 have cancer in the prostate but in most of them, it doesn't bother them and it has never bothered them, so you can say it is just there. In early stages, you can either treat it with surgery or radiation."
When detected early, while the tumor is still localized, the five-year survival rate for this group of men is 99%.
However, once the cancer spreads to the lymph nodes, bones and other places, the cancer of the prostate is no longer curable.
Prostate cancer is a very slow growing cancer and age, race, diet, family history and even a sedentary lifestyle may all play a part in increasing one's risks of developing the disease.
But despite all of this, prostate cancer can be battled successfully in most cases.
Colon Cancer is the third most diagnosed cancer in men and this year an estimated 50,000 will die from this form of cancer, with one death occurring about every ten minutes. This is why it’s important to know that once over the age of 50, the risk of developing the disease increases however, if caught early enough, colon cancer is often curable.
Men are likely to develop colon cancer if they have polyps, which are growths inside the colon and rectum and a diet high in fat and a family history can increase one's chances of being diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Because many men don’t experience any symptoms at first, early screening for the disease is extremely important. When symptoms do present themselves, they could include blood in the stool, change in bowel habits and general stomach discomfort.
Once diagnosed, treatments could include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination of both.
With millions of people living with and battling cancer, each day researchers strive to learn more about the disease while developing new ways to treat patients and improve the quality of life for those undergoing treatment. Everyday researchers go into the lab with the goal of finding a cure so one day everyone can live cancer free.