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Top Five Most Dangerous Cancers in Men and Women

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Top 5 most dangerous cancers in men and women

Programs offered at John Stoddard Cancer Center

Cancer prevention resources from the team at Stoddard

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As the second-leading cause of adult deaths in the U.S., cancer remains a scary topic that affects thousands of men and women each year. The following information addresses the Top 5 Most Dangerous Cancers in Men and Women based on 2019 cancer facts provided by the American Cancer Society.

  • Cancer remains the #2 cause of death in the United States in adults
  • 1,800,000 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2020
  • 606,520 Americans are expected to die from cancer in 2020
  • 2 in 5 women will develop cancer in their lifetime
  • 2 in 5 men will develop cancer in their lifetime

Five Most Dangerous Cancers in Men (2019)

  1. Lung & Bronchus - 72,500 male deaths
  2. Prostate - 33,330 male deaths
  3. Colon & Rectum - 28,630 male deaths
  4. Pancreas - 24,640 male deaths
  5. Liver & Intrahepatic Bile Duct - 20,020 male deaths

2019 Cancer Deaths in Men by Percent

  • 23% - Lung & Bronchus
  • 10% - Prostate
  • 9% - Colon & Rectum
  • 8% - Pancreas
  • 6% - Liver
  • 4% - Leukemia
  • 4% - Esophagus
  • 4% - Bladder
  • 3% - Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma
  • 3% - Kidney
  • 26% - Other

Five Most Dangerous Cancers in Women (2019)

  1. Lung & Bronchus - 63,220 female deaths
  2. Breast - 42,170 female deaths
  3. Colon & Rectum - 25,570 female deaths
  4. Pancreas - 22,410 female deaths
  5. Ovary - 13,940 female deaths

2019 Cancer Deaths in Females by Percent

  • 22% - Lung & Bronchus
  • 15% - Breast
  • 9% - Colon & Rectum
  • 8% - Pancreas
  • 5% - Ovary
  • 5% - Uterine
  • 4% - Liver
  • 3% - Leukemia 
  • 3% - Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 
  • 3% - Brain & Nervous System
  • 23% - Other

The following increases the risk of developing cancer:

  • Smoking/other tobacco use
  • Poor nutrition
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Obesity
  • Low activity levels
  • Exposure to pollutants such as formaldehyde, food additives and pesticides

Decrease your risk of developing cancer by:

  • Receive preventative screenings
  • Perform self-examinations regularly
  • Decrease exposure to environmental pollution
  • Increase activity levels
  • Maintain a healthy diet
  • Receive vaccinations for infection-caused cancers, such as cervical cancer
  • Decrease consumption of processed foods
  • Stop the use of tobacco products

Five Most Dangerous Cancers in Males

1. Lung & bronchus - 72,500 male deaths in 2019
Lung and bronchial cancer causes more deaths in the United States than any other type of cancer in both men and women. Although survival rates have increased over the years, thanks to improved treatments, the outlook is still bleak. The one-year survival rate for lung cancer is around 50 percent, yet the five-year survival rate is only 16 percent.

Men can reduce their risk of lung and bronchial cancer by avoiding the use of tobacco products.

2. Prostate - 33,330 male deaths in 2019
Prostate is the second-leading cause of cancer-related death in men, and an estimated 1 in 6 men in the United States will be diagnosed during their lifetime. Survival rates are directly associated with early detection, so men are advised to get screened every year. Males who are diagnosed early have a 98 percent survival rate.

3. Colon & rectum - 28,630 male deaths in 2019
The third most common cancer in men and women, colon and rectal cancer cases begin as clumps of benign cells, called polyps. Over time, these cells become cancerous. Screening is recommended for men over the age of 50, earlier if the patient is at an increased risk of development, to detect the polyps before they become cancerous.

4. Pancreas - 24,640 male deaths in 2019
Because pancreatic cancer progresses rapidly, and no method of early detection has been discovered, it is one of the most dangerous types of cancer. The one-year survival rate is 25 percent, and the five-year survival rate sits at only 6 percent.

While the cause of pancreatic cancer is still not well understood, obesity and tobacco use are known to increase the risk.

5. Liver & intrahepatic bile duct - 20,020 male deaths in 2019
Liver cancer occurs more often in men than women and most commonly affects those with liver damage caused by alcohol abuse, birth defects or chronic infection associated with diseases, such as hepatitis C or cirrhosis. Liver cancer is dangerous because it does not cause symptoms until it is in later stages, and early detection is difficult.

Five Most Dangerous Cancers in Females

1. Lung & bronchus - 63,220 female deaths in 2019
As with men, lung and bronchial cancer is the leading cause of cancerous deaths in women. The rate of female deaths associated with lung cancer increased steadily for decades, in conjunction with the increasing number of women who smoked, and only recently leveled off in 2003.

Women can also reduce their risk of lung and bronchial cancer by avoiding the use of tobacco products.

2. Breast - 42,170 female deaths in 2019
Prior to 1987, breast cancer killed more females than lung cancer. Though breast cancer now sits at No.2 in the United States, it is still the leading cancer-killer in women worldwide. Awareness for breast cancer screenings and encouraging self-examination has improved early detection and survival rates over the past several decades, making today’s five-year survival rate 90 percent.

3. Colon & rectum - 24,570 female deaths in 2019
One in 21 females will develop colon or rectal cancer in their lifetime. Like males, females should begin receiving colon cancer screenings at the age of 50, and earlier if there is an increased risk of development. Thanks to early detection from these screenings, colon cancer incidence rates decreased by 4.1 percent from 2005 to 2009 in adults age 50 and older.

4. Pancreas -22,410 female deaths in 2019
Pancreatic cancer develops quickly and with few symptoms, making it one of the most deadly forms of cancer. In addition, pancreatic cancer has shown resistance to chemotherapy, so new clinical trials are taking place to develop alternative treatments. As with men, obesity and tobacco use increases a woman’s risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

5. Ovary - 13,940 female deaths in 2019
More than 20,000 new cases of ovarian cancer occur in the United States each year. Because ovarian cancer does not usually cause symptoms or has symptoms that tend to be associated with other issues, early detection is difficult. Ovarian cancer is most common in older women - about half of those diagnosed are age 63 or older.

Women who are most at risk are those with a strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer. Preventative surgery to remove the ovaries and fallopian tubes can decrease this risk dramatically. Women who smoke and are overweight are also at a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer.

Preventing Deadly Cancers

While 5 to 10 percent of cancer cases are due to genetic defects, 90-95 percent are due to environmental and lifestyle factors. By being diligent with screenings and avoiding triggers such as smoking, poor nutrition, heavy alcohol use, obesity and low activity levels, many cancer-related deaths are theoretically preventable.

Treating Cancer From the Comfort of Your Home

Treating cancer can be a long, overwhelming process. The side effects associated with cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy, can leave one drained physically and emotionally, making childcare and home maintenance nearly impossible.

More Information

John Stoddard Cancer Center  - Our high standard of care comes from decades of research, cancer treatment experience, and cancer care technological superiority.

Programs offered at John Stoddard Cancer Center.

Contact the team at John Stoddard Cancer Center.