Even as cancer remains the second leading cause of death nationwide, steep drops in deaths from heart disease have made cancer the leading cause of death in 21 states. Additionally, cancer is the leading cause of death among adults ages 40 to 79, and among both Hispanics and Asian/Pacific Islanders, who together make up one-quarter of the U.S. population. Heart disease remains the top cause of death overall in the United States. In 2012, there were 599,711 (24%) deaths from heart disease, compared to 582,623 (23%) of deaths from cancer, according to the report.
“I don’t think the two diseases ought to be competing against each other,” said Brawley. “I think we need to realize that some of the causes of heart diseases are major causes of cancer. We talk a lot about high caloric intake, obesity and lack of physical activity. Those are risk factors for heart disease, as well as cancer. We talk a great deal about tobacco use. That’s a risk factor for heart disease as well as cancer. We need to double down and work on all of those things.”
The report estimates there will be 1,685,210 new cancer cases and 595,690 cancer deaths in the United States in 2016.