Cancer overtakes heart disease as number one killer in many Europeon countries
Heart disease is no longer the leading cause of death in many European countries. It’s overtaken by cancer while in rest of the world heart disease is still the biggest killer, accounting for 31% of all global deaths.
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The 12 European countries where cancer now kills more people than heart disease are: Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel, Italy, Luxemburg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain and UK.
The findings indicate a major shift in the rankings of leading causes of deaths. However, it does not mean that cancer is suddenly spreading like a virus. In fact, it suggests more efforts are needed to eliminate the disease in these 12 countries and to prevent cancer-related deaths or we can say these countries have been able to prevent heart disease more successfully and to reduce the number of deaths caused by heart disease.
The 12 countries in which cancer has overtaken heart disease as the number one cause of death are all located in Western Europe while 10 of them are the members of European Union (EU).
“Although we have seen progress across Europe in the prevention and treatment of CVD, leading to decreases in mortality from it, it is clear that such progress is not consistent across the continent,” said Dr Nick Townsend from University of Oxford, who led the research.
“With higher mortality from CVD still found in Eastern Europe and non EU countries, it is clear that the progress that has been made in Western Europe and most EU countries is yet to be achieved equally throughout the region.”
In order to reach this conclusion, researchers looked at the percentage of deaths from both heart disease and cancer across Europe. In France, for instance, figures from the most recent year available (2011) show that 92,375 men died from cancer and 64,659 died from cardiovascular disease. In Spain, 67,711 men died from cancer and 53,487 died from heart disease in 2013 while in UK 87,511 men died from cancer and 79,935 from CVD in 2013. But situation is different in Eastern Europe where most of the people are still dying from cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers want to take the study one step further and demand for more research into why the findings are not consistent throughout the Europe.
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Dr Townsend says. “Improved data need to be collected in all countries in order to make comparisons on deaths and suffering from CVD between countries so that health professionals and national governments can target interventions more effectively to reduce inequalities.”