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Last Updated: Tuesday March 17 2009 17:12 GMT

Who can get it?

People walking in the street

Cancer can affect anyone, but it mainly affects older people.

But different types are more likely to affect people at different ages - some are quite common, others are very rare.

It's important to remember you can't catch it from someone else!

As you get older, your risk of getting cancer does get bigger. About 65% of cancers in the UK affect people over the age of 65.

Children can get cancer in the same parts of the body as adults do.

But some types of cancer are more common in young people like leukaemia.

Childhood leukaemia is cancer of the blood which can spread into the bone marrow - or soft tissue in the middle of bones.

The most common types in older people are:

  • Lung: Second most common cancer in men and the third most common in women. About 94 people die every day from it in the UK. Smoking causes about 90% of cases.

  • Breast: Most common cancer in women, but about 300 men a year get it too.

  • Bowel: Third most common cancer in the UK. Mostly affects older people.

  • Prostate: Most common cancer in men. The prostate is a gland near the bladder (men only).