|01-19-2005, 06:49 PM||#1|
Angling in the Deep
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Texas Riviera, Southern Mountains
Federal Goal: Cut Smoking To 12% By 2010
That would be a dramatic decrease from just a 15 years ago when it was about 45%.
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer
For the first time, cancer has surpassed heart disease as the top killer of Americans under 85, health officials said Wednesday. The good news is that deaths from both are falling, but improvement has been more dramatic for heart disease.
"It's dropping fast enough that another disease is eclipsing it," said Dr. Walter Tsou, president of the American Public Health Association (news - web sites).
The single biggest reason: fewer smokers.
The news is contained in the American Cancer Society (news - web sites)'s annual statistical report, released Wednesday. In 2002, the most recent year for which information is available, 476,009 Americans under 85 died of cancer compared with 450,637 who died of heart disease.
That trend actually began in 1999, but "this is the first time we've looked at this by age," said Ahmedin Jemal, a cancer society epidemiologist and main author of the report.
Those under 85 comprise 98.4 percent of the population, said Dr. Eric Feuer, chief of statistical research for the National Cancer Institute (news - web sites) who also worked on the report.
That means that only the very oldest Americans continue to die of heart disease more than of cancer, a trend that is expected to reverse by 2018, said Dr. Harmon Eyre, the cancer society's longtime chief medical officer.
"This is a situation in which neither one of us wants to be No. 1" because far more deaths could be prevented, said Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, chief scientific officer of the American Heart Association (news - web sites).
A third of all cancers are related to smoking, and another third are related to obesity, poor diets and lack of exercise — all factors that also contribute to heart disease. (continued)