Based on sex and race

Via Peters

There are several types of cancers, which doctors typically define based on what tissue they start in and what part of the body the cancer primarily affects. Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer, followed by lung and prostate cancers.

Though cancer can start in any area of the body, the prevalence rate of different cancers varies. Certain cancers occur much more frequently than others.

In some cases, a person’s sex or race can increase the likelihood that they will develop certain types of cancer in their lifetime.

Controllable factors, such as smoking, can also affect a person’s risk for developing certain cancers.

This article reviews the most common types of cancer overall as well as the most common cancers based on sex and race.

According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), in order for a cancer to qualify as a common type, the incidence rate in 2021 had to be at least 40,000.

Based on the NCI’s estimates, the most common cancer type in 2021 was breast cancer, with an estimated 284,200 new cases expected.

The next most common types include both prostate and lung cancers.

The following table provides a ranking of some of the most common cancer types. It also provides numbers for the most recent estimates of new cases and the 5-year relative survival rate.

A relative survival rate helps give an idea of how long a person with a particular condition may live after receiving a diagnosis compared with those without the condition.

For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate is 70%, it means that a person with the condition is 70% as likely as someone without the condition to live for 5 years.

It is important to remember that these figures are estimates. A person can consult a healthcare professional about how their condition is going to affect them.

Certain cancers affect people assigned male at birth more than others.

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), some cancers that most often affect males include:

According to the ACS, cancers that most often affect females include:

The following tables list the top 10 cancers that affect people based on their race, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):


The table below lists the top 10 cancers to affect white people.


The table below lists the top 10 cancers to affect Black people.

American Indian and Alaska Native

The table below lists the top 10 cancers to affect American Indian and Alaskan Native people.

Asian and Pacific Islander

The table below lists the top 10 cancers to affect Asian and Pacific Islander people.


The table below lists the top 10 cancers to affect Hispanic people.

Health disparities

Though every person has a risk of developing cancer, a person’s race can play a role in the prevalence and overall risk of death from cancer.

According to a 2017 study, researchers noted that when comparing the population worldwide, people with African ancestry have a higher chance of developing cancer than other races and ethnicities across the world.

Reasons for this include racial disparities in healthcare and socioeconomic disparities. For example, 1 in 3 Black women state that they have experienced racial discrimination during a visit to a doctor. This can lead to a mistrust in healthcare professionals.

The authors of the 2017 study also noted that people with Hispanic heritage often have similar socioeconomic and cultural trends but lower overall cancer rates.

This led them to look more closely at the role of genes and biological factors as risk factors for cancer as well. They noted that some of the factors that increase a Black person’s chances of chronic inflammation and obesity may also increase their chances of developing cancer.

Learn more

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Anyone can develop cancer, though some people have an increased risk of developing certain cancers based on their race and sex. The most common cancers include breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers.

Race plays a role in cancer development as well as prognosis. People with African ancestry generally have a higher risk of developing cancers than other races.

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