Causes of cancer: Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases. Benign tumors are not cancer; malignant tumors are cancer. Most cancers are named for the type of cell or the organ in which they begin. When cancer spreads (metastasizes), the new tumor has the same name as the original (primary) tumor. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer for both men and women. The second most common cancer in men is prostate cancer, in women it is breast cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death from cancer for both men and women in the U.S. Cancer is NOT contagious.