Cancer grows out of normal cells in the body. Normal cells multiply when the body needs them, and die when the body doesn't need them. Cancer appears to occur when the growth of cells in the body is out of control and cells divide too quickly. It can also occur when cells forget how to die.
There are many different kinds of cancer. Cancer can develop in almost any organ or tissue, such as the lung, colon, breast, skin, bones, or nerve tissue.
There are many causes of cancer, including:
- Benzene and other chemicals
- Drinking excess alcohol
- Environmental toxins, such as certain poisonous mushrooms and a type of poison that can grow on peanut plants (aflatoxins)
- Excessive sunlight exposure
- Genetic problems
However, the cause of many cancers remains unknown.
The most common cause of cancer-related death is lung cancer.
The three most common cancers in men in the United States are:
In women in the United States, the three most common cancers are:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Lung cancer
Some cancers are more common in certain parts of the world. For example, in Japan, there are many cases of stomach cancer, but in the United States, this type of cancer is unusual. Differences in diet or environmental factors may play a role.
Some other types of cancers include: