Top 10 Cancers Among Men

Cancer may affect men and women about equally, but certain cancers tend to be more common in men. According to the most recent reports from the American Cancer Society, cancer claims the lives of more than 300,000 men a year in the U.S. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the risk of death.

Man shaking hands with male physician in an exam room

Below are the top 10 cancer types in men and some ways that you may be able to protect yourself.

Prostate cancer

Prostate cancer is by far the leading cancer among men in the U.S. According to the most recent figures, prostate cancer accounts for more than 241,000 of the 848,000-plus annual cancer diagnoses in men. African-American men are at highest risk for this type of cancer. Steps to help prevent it include not smoking, staying at a healthy weight, following a healthy diet that limits high-fat dairy products and processed meats, and being physically active.

Lung cancer

Although prostate cancer may be more common among men, lung cancer is more deadly. Each year, more than 116,000 men a year are diagnosed with lung cancer. Nearly 88,000 die from the disease. The best ways to prevent lung cancer are to avoid smoke and to quit smoking. About 80 percent of deaths from lung cancer are related to smoking. Exposure to radon gas that comes from soil and building materials is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S.

Colorectal cancer

More than 73,000 men are diagnosed with colorectal cancer each year. Although colorectal cancer affects all ethnic groups equally, it tends to strike most often after age 50. A healthy lifestyle seems to protect against colorectal cancer. Obesity, inactivity, smoking, heavy alcohol use, and a diet that includes a lot of red and processed meats appear to raise the risk for colorectal cancer. Vigorous, regular physical activity, losing excess weight, not smoking, and a diet rich in fruits and vegetables appear to help prevent it. Regular screening tests can also help catch it early and reduce the number of deaths associated with this type of cancer.

Bladder cancer

Nearly 56,000 men will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2012. Most men affected by it are older than 70, but smoking increases the risk at any age. Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to help prevent bladder cancer. Drinking lots of fluids, especially water, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables may also help lower your risk.

Skin cancer

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer overall in both men and women in the U.S. Melanoma is diagnosed less often than nonmelanoma skin cancers, but it is the most deadly type. It affects more than 44,000 men a year and kills more than 6,000. To help prevent skin cancer, protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays by wearing sunscreen, long-sleeved shirts, a wide-brimmed hat, and sunglasses. You shouldn't use tanning beds or lamps. These damage your skin and can cause cancer, too. It's important to see your doctor right away if you notice any suspicious moles, bumps, or sores on your skin that have changed or don't heal.

Kidney cancer

More than 40,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed in men in the U.S. each year. The majority of kidney cancer cases affect people ages 60 and older. Major risk factors include obesity, high blood pressure, and cigarette smoking. Not smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may help prevent this cancer.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma

More than 38,000 men are diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma annually. This type of cancer begins in the immune system. It is thought to be more common in men with HIV or AIDS because of their weakened immune system. Although non-Hodgkin lymphoma often occurs without any risk factors, men should practice safe sex to reduce the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. A healthy lifestyle may also prevent this cancer. Maintain a healthy body weight and get plenty of exercise.

Mouth and throat cancers

Each year, more than 28,000 men are diagnosed with oral, or mouth, cancer and cancer of the larynx, also called throat cancer. Smoking and using other forms of tobacco increase the risk for these cancers, as do HPV infection, heavy consumption of alcohol, and a diet low in vegetables and fruits. A healthy lifestyle can help prevent these cancers. In particular, don't use any form of tobacco and avoid excess alcohol use.


More than 27,000 men are diagnosed with leukemia annually. Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the immune system, most often the bone marrow, white blood cells, and lymph nodes. Leukemia is classified into four main groups according to cell type and rate of growth. They are acute lymphocytic, chronic lymphocytic, acute myeloid, and chronic myeloid. To limit your risk, don't smoke and avoid exposure to chemicals such as benzene.

Pancreatic cancer

Each year, about 22,000 men are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and nearly 19,000 die from it. Pancreatic cancer is more likely in people who have a history of pancreatitis, diabetes, and obesity. It may be linked to high alcohol consumption and a diet heavy in red meat. To lower your risk, avoid cigarettes and cigars, and get to and stay at a healthy weight.