Cancer now beats heart disease as top cause of death in 22 U.S. states


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2016/08/24/cancer-now-beats-heart-disease.html


#2

This is a good thing, right?

I mean, cancer is a shitty thing to have or have happen to someone you love, but everyone has to die of something eventually. My take is that people are avoiding heart disease and therefore surviving long enough to give cancer the chance to claim first place. Cancer is shitty, but longer lives isn’t.

Edit to add: overall life expectancy in the US has risen by 10 years since 1960. That’s great.


#3

Yeah, it’s kind of news that says, “we’re beating heart disease!” Better diet, better exercise…we might still be fat, but that’s a good indicator that in some ways, we’re beating it back.

Cancer’s next on the list, then, but that’s a…complex nut. Which cancers? Which populations? Genetic or environmental factors?

Looks like lung cancer is a leader there (for both genders in the binary), and there’s a lot of environmental stuff that goes into lung cancer, so it looks VERY preventable. Though I tend to think the arc has turned for both smoking and radon, which seem to (still) be the leading causes.


#4

I looked at a World Life Expectancy site and saw that the US had been trending downward in its world rank for life expectancy. In 1960 it ranked 15th for females and 23rd for males and was, in 2015, ranking 33rd for both males and females.


#5

That’s what I figured as well… Especially since cancer death rates have been slowly, but steadily declining.
Cancer Death Rate Continues Steady Drop

More than 1.7 million cancer deaths averted between 1991 and 2012

Edit:
As a percentage of the population, Cancer deaths went from 0.14% in 1950 to 0.19% in 2011; Heart disease went from 0.35% in 1950 to 0.19% in 2011.
If one normalized for life expectancy, I doubt that there would be much change in the cancer rates.


#6

If the US life expectancy is going up, but it’s rank is going down, that just means other countries are also doing better. Sounds like good new all around, really.


#7

Precious few of us ever get our first choice.


#8

On the one hand I’m glad I beat cancer. Admittedly I had a very mild form that doctors told me at the outset had a good chance of being cured, although I don’t take it lightly.

On the other hand there’s a terrible history of heart disease on both sides of my family…


#9

I recall reading that if you live long enough your chances of contracting cancer approach 100%. If that’s true, wouldn’t increasing longevity cause higher cancer rates?


#10

Why would this data be supplied without the context of life expectancy?


#11

I’d have something more like this in mind. (NSFW)


#12

People are smoking a lot less and taking Lipitor a lot more. So cancer catches them before heart disease can. I’m cool with that.


#13

I admit that I didn’t dive deep into the appendices; but the summary seemed practically deliberate in not providing the information you’d need to say whether this is a good thing or not.

Specifically, it looked at mortality from one source or the other, among various demographics; but I couldn’t find anything on age-at-time-of-death, which is what you’d really want to know in order to distinguish between the more or less positive “Heart disease is substantially preventable and has some decent treatment options, and we’ve finally seen that paying off” and the much less happy “we are seeing a lot of cancers killing people before heart disease has a chance to”.

Off the cuff, I’d assume that it’s mostly the former(though if you live in a location referred to as ‘cancer alley’ your mileage may vary); but the data as presented were less than helpful in trying to determine one way or the other.


#14

finally gender equality. go USA!


#15

Police unions in uproar.


#16

I’d like to go peacefully, in my sleep, like my grandfather.

Not screaming in terror, like the passengers in his car.


#17

My grandfather kept bugging me to sign my donor card. He was a man after my own heart.


#18

Gimme a “C”! Gimme an “A”!


#19

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