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Cancer Indicators

Here, in the Iowa EHTP web portal, we focus on the following types of cancer. For all of these, there is concern that environmental exposures may play a role in their development:

Breast cancer occurs when a malignant tumor forms in the tissue of the breast. It is one of the most common types of cancer in women. Although men can get breast cancer too, it is much more common among women. It is estimated that one in eight women will develop breast cancer at some point in their lives. Women should receive regular mammograms to increase chances of early detection.

Lung cancer forms in the tissues of the lung including the tubes connecting the windpipe to the lung. Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in the United States. Smoking is the most common cause of lung cancer. Residential radon is the second leading known cause.

Bladder cancer forms in the cells lining the urinary system. Bladder cancer is more common among older people, men (vs. women), and whites (vs. blacks). Smoking and the work environment are the two biggest risk factors for bladder cancer.

Brain cancer occurs in the tissues of the brain and central nervous system. Cancers of the brain are more common among children under 15 and adults aged 65 years and older. Little is known about the causes of brain cancer and how to prevent it from occurring.

Thyroid cancer forms in the thyroid gland. Known risk factors for thyroid cancer include exposure to radiation, family history, being female, age over 45, iodine intake (both low and high levels), and hormonal factors.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma refers to a large group of cancers that begin in the immune system. Risk factors for non-Hodgkin lymphoma include a weakened immune system, certain infections, and older age.

Leukemia includes a diverse group of cancers that begin in blood cells. Although it is sometimes thought of as a children’s disease, leukemia and cancer overall are more common in older adults than in children. There are several different types of leukemia. Each type of leukemia starts in a particular type of white blood cell and grows at a different rate:

  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) starts in the lymphoid cells of the bone marrow and can spread to other parts of the body. CLL usually grows slowly and is most common in adults. Scientists know little about the risk factors for CLL.
  • Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) starts in the lymphoid cells of the bone marrow and grows quickly. ALL occurs in both adults and children. ALL is the most common malignancy in children.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) starts in the myeloid cells of the bone marrow and grows quickly. AML occurs in both adults and children. Smoking is one of the few known risk factors for AML.

Data and information for this site are still being developed and added.  We welcome your comments and feedback.

This effort is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000619-02. The contents of this Website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.