Friday, 18 October, 2019

Cancer Overtakes Heart Disease as #1 Killer of Middle-Aged in Wealthy Nations

Deaths from cancer in richer countries are twice as frequent as those from cardiovascular disease Deaths from cancer in richer countries are twice as frequent as those from cardiovascular disease
Anna Jefferson | 03 September, 2019, 20:25

During the study, 0.6 per cent of deaths in high-income countries were caused by heart disease, while 1.6 per cent were caused by cancer.

The Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological study (PURE) followed 162,534 men and women aged 35 to 70 in 21 countries on all continents except Australia.

During the study, 11,307 (7.0%) participants died: 9,329 (5.7%) had CVD and 5,151 (3.2%) had a cancer.

But that ranged from only 23% per cent in high-income countries (HIC) to 41% in middle-income countries (MIC) and 43% in low-income countries (LIC).

The findings come from the first large prospective worldwide study documenting the frequency of common diseases and death rates in high-, middle- and low-income countries using a standardized approach. Moreover, the researchers noted that cancer could become the leading cause of death globally within a few decades if heart disease rates continue to fall, the article reported.

The United States was not included in the study.

Professor Salim Yusuf, principal investigator of the study, said: "The fact that cancer deaths are now twice as frequent as CVD deaths in high-income countries indicates a transition in the predominant causes of death in middle age".

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Heart disease still claims the lives of more people globally, but in more affluent nations it has now ceded its place as the leading killer to cancer, a major new report finds. For deaths, the largest group of PAFs overall were for behavioral risk factors (26.3%), but in mid- and low-income nations, the importance of household air pollution, poor diet, low education, and low grip strength were substantially larger compared with their impact in richer countries.

In middle-income countries, the difference was smaller - 1.4 per cent for cancer and 1.8 per cent for heart disease.

After analyzing the information across these nations, the researchers discovered that non-communicable illnesses, similar to heart problems, had been the most common reason behind deaths and diseases globally among the many adults. The study documented the frequency of common diseases and death rates across countries. Dagenais's team said their findings suggest that the higher rates of heart-disease deaths in low-income countries may be mainly due to a lower quality of healthcare.

They also report the higher cardiovascular disease rates in poorer countries occurred despite much lower cardiovascular disease risk factors in poor countries.

Heart disease is more deadly in poorer countries, Professor Yusuf said, because they may not have access to treatments like heart surgeries or drugs such as statins or blood pressure medications. Results showed that for every six cancer deaths, there were four deaths due to cardiac diseases in the high-come countries such as Canada, Sweden, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Gilles Dagenais, professor emeritus of medicine at Laval University and lead author of one of the PURE papers, added: "If ways of lowering CVD deaths that have been effective in high-income countries are implemented in middle- and lower-income countries, we could expect large drops in CVD deaths there as well over time".

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