Women in their late 30s and early 40s are twice as likely to contract cancer, according to new data published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Women aged 35 to 44 years old have an unusually high rate of cancer, largely due to the commonality of breast cancer among them. Breast cancer accounts for 30.7 percent of all new cases, which trumps lung cancer's 11.6 percent and colorectal's 11.2 percent.

Nick Ormiston-Smith, statistical information manager at Cancer Research UK, said, "Even though you're more likely to get breast cancer when you're older, there are some younger women who contract it. Overall men are more likely to get cancer than women across all ages."

In other words, early-middle aged women aren't the only ones that should be worried. In fact, men overall have a 14-percent greater chance of getting any type of cancer than women. Men between 65 and 69 years old have a 37 percent higher chance of contracting cancer than women of the same age, and the threatening number only rises to 63 percent for men 85 and older.

In 2011, there were 139,120 men in the UK registered as having cancer, compared to 135,113 women. The cancer incidence rates were higher for both sexes than average in the north of England, while women in the East Midlands and South West regions had high incidence rates. In America, about 1,6660,290 new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013, and about 580,350 Americans are projected to die of cancer the same year.

According to the ONS data, prostate cancer is the most common type among men, accounting for 25.6 percent of all new cases. And lung cancer is the second most common type of cancer, which plagued 13.8 percent of men and 11.6 percent of women.

Researchers found that since the rise of unhealthy lifestyles, such as drinking and smoking, there has been an increase of two-thirds in the cancer-diagnosed population in the last 10 years. Malignant melanoma — the deadliest form of skin cancer, which is known to affect many young people — for instance, has increased by 66 percent in the past decade, more than any other type of cancer.

Cancer begins when cells in a region of the body start to grow uncontrollably. The cell growth is thus different from normal cell growth, and instead of dying, cells continue to grow and form new abnormal cells. The spread of cancer is called metastasizing, and depending on the person's health, stage of the cancer, and type of cancer, the rate of metastasizing can vary greatly.

"Figures also revealed a worrying gender gap. Cancer affects women more in younger age groups, but men are significantly worse affected over the age of 60. The reason for this are complex and only partially understood," said Ciarán Devane, chief executive at Macmillan Cancer Support. "Further research needs to be carried out to understand these differences better."

Devane pointed out that cancer types have risen by nearly a fifth in the last ten years and that these new figures were startling. Cancer is the second most common cause of death in the U.S., accounting for nearly one in every four deaths, which claims 1,600 people's lives every day.

The greatest weapon against cancer is living a healthy lifestyle and getting checked regularly by the doctor, although self-exams for abnormal lumps that could indicate a tumor are greatly encouraged by the American Cancer Society.

"We are warning that the rising numbers of cancer patients pose a huge challenge for the NHS as it will not be able to cope with the surge in demand unless it puts the necessary plans and resources in place now," said Devane.