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Cancer Now ‘Leading Cause Of Death’ In Rich Countries

Cancer has become the leading cause of death in rich nations, overtaking heart disease, according to the results of two landmark, decade-long global surveys of health trends released Tuesday.

Heart disease remains the leading cause of mortality among middle-aged adults globally, accounting for more than 40% of deaths, the data showed. 

Cancer was thought to have been responsible for around 17.7 million deaths in 2017. 

The study followed more than 160,000 adults, in high-, middle-, and low-income countries over the course of decade.

It determined that people in poorer nations were on average 2.5 times more likely to die from heart disease than those in richer ones. 

It conversely found that non-infectious diseases such as cancer and pneumonia were less common in low-income states than in richer ones.

A second study, also by researchers in Canada, and looking at data from patients in the same 21 countries, found that so-called “modifiable risk factors” accounted for 70% of heart disease cases globally. 

These included diet, behavioral and socioeconomic factors, they said. 

Metabolic risk factors — high cholesterol, obesity or diabetes — caused more than 40% of all heart disease, and were by far the biggest determinant of disease in richer nations. 

But there was also a strong link between heart disease in developing countries and household air pollution, poor diet and low education levels.

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