Cancer is expected to overtake heart disease as the leading cause for death in 2010, but are these kind of statistics misleading? Well to put it simply, yes. The rate of deaths caused by cancer have been decreasing steadily for many years now. Due to the new steps in prevention, detection, and treatment, we have witnessed a constant decline for the past 30 or so years. Many of the younger groups have experienced the greatest drop in deaths related to cancer. So why is cancer going to overtake heart disease as the number 1 killer?
Although the statistics are right and cancer will be public enemy number 1, the statistics can be misleading in ways. Heart disease will cease to be the number 1 killer only because the rate of deaths by heart disease are lowering even faster than the decline of cancer deaths.
Many people in the general public are unaware of this because it is not heavily publicized. Most people just watch the news which has, for the most part, changed to report the most interesting events, not always the most important events. Due to this lack of broadcasting a great number of people still believe that we are losing the battle against cancer even though we’ve been gaining ground for more than 3 decades.
Here are some interesting statistics that every should see:
- Since the early 1950s, age-specific cancer death rates have been falling steadily, starting first with children and young adults, and then eventually across all age groups.
- Apart from lung cancer, much of this falling trend has taken place despite the fact that numbers of cases (incidence) has remained steady.
- From the middle to the end of the 20th century, for people born between 1925 and 1934, then between 1935 and 1944, and so on, every ten years until 1995, there has been a lower risk of cancer death in each birth decade compared to the previous decade for nearly every age group.
- The youngest age groups have experienced the steepest decline at 25.9 percent per decade, but even the oldest groups have experienced a 6.8 percent per decade decline.
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