Cancer has become the leading cause of deaths in developed countries and could rank first in the world mortality rate in the coming decades, if current trends continue, according to Reuters.
Currently, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death worldwide among middle-aged adults (40% of the total), but in developed countries, their place was taken by cancer, according to studies published Tuesday in the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
According to the two studies, in developed countries, cancer kills twice as many people as cardiovascular diseases.
“Our data show that in 2017, cancer was the second most common cause of death globally, with 26% of deaths. But as heart disease cases decline, cancer could become the leading cause of death worldwide, in just a few decades,” said Gilles Dagenais, a professor at Laval University in Quebec, Canada.
In 2017, out of a total of 55 million deaths worldwide, 17.7 million were caused by cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure, angina, and heart attack.
About 70% of all cases of heart disease and deaths caused by them are the result of risk factors that can intervene, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diet, smoking.
In developed countries, the number of people diagnosed with heart disease has decreased dramatically in recent decades, after statin treatments – to regulate cholesterol levels – and with medicines to lower blood pressure have become common.
Professor Dagenais’ team says that the results of their research show that the higher number of deaths caused by cardiovascular disease in poor and developing countries may be a consequence of a poor public health system (conditions of hospitalization and drug treatment).
The research was carried out within the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiological Study (PURE), published in The Lancet and presented at a congress of the European Cardiology Society in Paris.
Countries monitored were Argentina, Bangladesh, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, India, Iran, Malaysia, Pakistan, Palestine, Philippines, Poland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Sweden, Tanzania, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, and Zimbabwe.