Research says cancer is closing in on heart disease to become top killer nationwide
Cancer is on course to become top killer in United States. According to a latest research, more people died from cancer in 22 states of America during 2014 than from heart disease, which has consistently been the leading cause of death in United States for decades. If the same trend continues, cancer will likely surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death in United States in years to come.
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"It's been edging this way for a while," said co-author Robert Anderson from CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. “We've taken for granted that heart disease is the leading cause of death, but now because of prevention efforts and advances in treatment, we're making substantial progress with heart disease, to the point where now it's roughly on par with cancer.”
More than a decade ago, Alaska and Minnesota were the only two states which reportedly lost more people to cancer than heart disease. But now this trend has been observed in 20 more states including California, Alaska, Colorado, Vermont, Nebraska, Washington and Virginia.
Overall, heart disease still outnumbers cancer in mortality. In 2014, 614,348 U.S. residents died of heart disease compared to 591,699 with cancer. The reason could be the complex nature of the disease and the treatment we currently have to fight against it. Experts believe that the treatment for cancer is quite complex, and doctors are not equipped well enough to deal with the disease. Moreover, many types of cancers are hard to detect in the early stage and therefore hard to eradicate.
The data which has been used for the research begins in 1950 when the invention of vaccination prevented thousands of premature deaths. However, as the people aged they developed chronic health conditions like cancer and heart disease. Data shows that the number of deaths due to heart disease started to decline by 1980, but deaths caused by cancer continued to rise sharply and had nearly tripled by 2011.
Where the uptick concerns many, it highlights an encouraging aspect as well. Health officials in United States have made a considerable progress in eliminating heart disease and likely treated and prevented it more effectively than cancer.
“We have to keep in mind that everyone's going to die eventually from something. Any time we reduce the risk of death for any particular cause, we increase the risk you're going to die from another cause,” Dr. Richard Schilsky, chief medical officer for the American Society of Clinical Oncology, explained.
“Cancer is a disease that is fundamentally associated with aging. If you outlive all the competing causes of mortality, there's a greater and greater likelihood that you're going to get cancer.”