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prostate: male gland surrounding the urethra that contributes fluid to the semen incidence: number of new cases reported each year epithelial cell: sheet of cells lining organs throughout the body bone marrow: dividing cells within the long bones that make the blood lymphatic system: group of ducts and nodes through which fluid and white blood cells circulate to fight infection immune system: the set of organs and cells, including white blood cells, that protect the body from infection malignant: spreading to surrounding tissues; cancerous lymph system: system of vessels and glands in the body that circulates and cleans extracellular fluid

Cancer is, in general, more common in industrialized nations, but there has been a growth in cancer rates in developing countries, particularly as these nations adopt the diet and lifestyle habits of industrialized countries. Over one million people in the United States get cancer each year. Anyone can get cancer at any age; however, about 80 percent of all cancers occur in people over the age of fifty-five.

Cancer can affect any site in the body. About one hundred human cancers are recognized. The four most common cancers in the United States are: lung, colon/rectum, breast, and prostate. Together, these cancers account for over 50 percent of total cancer cases in the United States each year.

There is a marked variation among countries in incidence of different cancers. Most of the variation in cancer risk among populations, and among individuals, is due to environmental factors, such as cigarette smoking and certain dietary patterns, that can affect one's risk of developing cancer. For example, individuals living in Australia have the highest worldwide lifetime risk of skin cancer, at over 20 percent, due to the high level of exposure to the sun of people in Australia. People in India have twenty-five times the average risk of developing oral cancer sometime during their lives due to the popularity of chewing tobacco in that country. In fact, India has the world's highest incidence of oral cancer, with 75,000 to 80,000 new cases a year. The population of Japan has the highest rates of stomach cancer in the world due to the high consumption of raw fish by the Japanese.

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