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For the first time, cancer has overtaken heart disease as the number-one cause of death across Canada, according to the latest statistics here [1].
According to numbers released yesterday, cancer accounted for 29.6% of deaths (70 558) in 2008--the latest year for which stats have been made available by heath authorities. Heart disease caused 21.3% of deaths (50 722).
Stroke, in third place, caused 5.8% (13 870) of deaths.
Statistics from the previous year had cancer leading heart disease in every province and territory with the exception of Prince Edward Island and the Northwest Territories. In the 2008 statistics, heart disease has now moved into second place in every province/territory, with the exception of Nunavut, where suicide ranks second.
Between 2007 and 2008, cancer deaths climbed 1.4% nationally, continuing a trend seen since 2000. By contrast, heart-disease deaths declined between 2000 and 2006 but actually crept upward between 2007 and 2008.
Preliminary US numbers published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that heart disease was still the leading cause of death for both 2008 and 2009, followed by malignant neoplasms, with both diseases declining in this period, although that decline was three times greater for heart disease [2].
In the UK, which has published 2010 causes of death for England and Wales, it is more difficult to draw comparisons, due to how diseases are grouped by statisticians there [3]. "Circulatory diseases" (which include heart disease and stroke, as well as venous and arterial diseases) were the leading cause of death and had declined since 2009. By contrast, deaths due to cancers and neoplasms, in the number-two position, had climbed slightly over the past year.
Commenting on the newly released Canadian statistics for heartwire , Dr Paul Armstrong(University of Calgary, AB) observed that there is both good news and bad in the numbers.
"I guess it's good news that we're making some progress in cardiovascular disease. And obviously if the burden of cardiovascular disease is relieved such that you are living longer, it's more likely that you're going to die of something else," he said.
But before anyone celebrates these numbers, Armstrong points out that despite progress in controlling risk factors such as hypertension and elevated cholesterol, Canada and other countries have not done so well in curbing the upward march of obesity and diabetes. Diabetes, he points out, is the number-six cause of death in Canada, and the number of diabetes deaths has climbed since 2000.
"I worry we could still see a second wave of [increased] heart-disease deaths as a result of the increasing prevalence of diabetes and obesity, although it's too soon to know," Armstrong said.
In response to a poll question on this summer, 52% of respondents said they expected cancer to surpass heart disease as the world's number-one killer within the next 10 years.


Anonymous said...

Cancer really take lives and it's not good. So I think everyone should always be mindful of their activities, and the foods that they are taking. My liver cancer alternative treatment center likes this so much. Thanks a lot for sharing!

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