Leading Cancer Killers in the US

Cancer Statistics

Picture of Hands Wearing Livestrong BraceletsCancer is the number two killer in the US and has been for some time. It is not conducive to longer life.  The most recent cancer statistics compiled by the CDC was released in 2009 for the final data of deaths in 2006; If you haven't done so I'd encourage you to read my post on the overall leading causes of death in America which is based on this same CDC report.

Because cancer is such a leading cause of death I thought it might be interesting to break down the cancer statistics to see what the leading cancer types were and which cancers were actually the most widespread. This analysis allows us to identify which leading cancers we can actively take steps to lower our risk for. By taking these steps we can effectively decrease our risk for one of the leading killers and in turn live longer by increasing our own life expectancy.

As I've previously noted, leading causes of death are a great place to start in attempting to increase mortality rates. Of the many forms of cancers, the top five cancer killers account for 56 percent of all deaths via cancer. And the top form of cancer, lung cancer and COPD, is by far the leading cause of deaths due to cancer. This number also represents nearly 13% of all deaths nationwide, of any kind!

For reference purposes the list for the top 10 leading cancer killers for Americans in 2006 (2004 data) is as follows (Type of Cancer - Percent of Cancer Deaths).

Leading Cancer Killers in America - 2006 (2004 data)

  1. Lung Cancer 158,664 (28.3 percent)
  2. Colon Cancer 53,549 (9.6 percent)
  3. Breast Cancer 41,210 (7.4 percent)
  4. Pancreatic Cancer 33,454 (6 percent)
  5. Prostate Cancer 28,372 (5.1 percent)
  6. Liver Cancer 16,525 (3 percent)
  7. Ovarian Cancer 14,857 (2.7 percent)
  8. Esophageal Cancer 13,686 (2.4 percent)
  9. Bladder Cancer 13,474 (2.4 percent)
  10. Brain / Meninges Cancer 12,886 (2.3 percent)
Combined, the top ten cancer deaths in the US accounted for 69.1 percent of all deaths by cancer combined. According to the same cancer statistics the following cancers were numbers 11-15 on the list, and all other leading cancer killers after that accounted for less than 1 percent of total US cancer deaths in 2006 (2004). Cancer of Kidney was right at about 1 percent.
  • Kidney Cancer
  • Stomach Cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Mouth Cancer
  • Cancer of the Uterus

Cancer Statistics at a Glance

You should immediately notice a couple things from the above cancer statistics. Lung cancers and associated conditions (i.e. Desmoplastic Mesothelioma for instance) far outweigh other forms of cancer by a wide margin. They greatly contribute to shorter life spans.  This is generally due to the habitual nature of people across the globe to continue smoking despite their better judgment. This is the single easiest thing you can do to decrease your odds for dieing of cancer and increase your odds of living a longer life; don't smoke.

Other notables identified in the preceding cancer statistics are the advantages you have in being a man. Death by prostate cancer is about half that of the female cancers (breast, ovary, and uterus) combined. Maybe this is why the woman's cancer movement (pink ribbons anyone) is so much more mainstream then the men's campaign for prostate cancer. Obviously this is merely my opinion but I think it's has some merit to it. What do you think?

A Longer Life

In future installments of "A Longer Life" I'm going to continue to break down the leading cancer statistics and begin identifying in greater detail which ailments are preventable... or at least which risks can be managed effectively. I hope you'll stick around for more of these posts as we learn how we can live longer with prevention.

You can always return to "How To Live A Longer Life" at any time but let me invite and encourage you to simply sign up for free automatic updates to your RSS feed reader or to your email box. You can opt out at anytime; I promise. :)

Avoid Cancer With Knowledge

Let me also suggest reading a bit about how the lowly Mediterranean Diet has been shown to decrease cancer risks of most all forms and how exercise can increase longevity by lowering death rates of most all kinds. Lastly I recommend keeping in mind how to live longer by not dying young. Leave me your thoughts on these cancer statistics in the comments.

CDC - Deaths in 2006 (Final Data) - Table 10 - http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr57/nvsr57_14.pdf

Photo Credit
Unhindered by Talent - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nicmcphee/

Leading Causes of Death

Heart Disease is easily the leading cause of death in America. One of the major contributors to heart disease is cholesterol. See the following posts for more on lowering your risk for heart disease:

How To Lower LDL Cholesterol Levels Naturally