NEW YORK (AP) — Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the No. 1 killer among Hispanics in the U.S., and the rest of the country may be only a few years behind.
The change is not exactly cause for alarm. Death rates for both cancer and heart disease have been dropping for Hispanics and everyone else. It's just that heart disease deaths have fallen faster, largely because of improved treatment and prevention, including the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs.
Overall, cancer will probably replace heart disease as the nation's top cause of death in the next 10 years, said Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society, lead author of a study reporting the new findings. Government health statisticians think the crossover point could be reached as early as this year, or at least in the next two or three years.
The reason it has already happened among Hispanics is that they are younger on average than non-Hispanic whites and blacks. And cancer tends to kill people earlier in life than heart disease, for decades the nation's top cause of death.
The shift could bring about a change in disease-prevention efforts, government spending priorities and people's attitudes.
"We've been so focused on heart disease mortality for so long. … This may change the way people look at their risk," said Robert Anderson, who oversees the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control branch that monitors death statistics.
The study is being published in the September/October issue of a cancer society publication, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians.
Cancer society researchers looked at federal death data for 2009 and found that 29,935 Hispanics died of cancer and 29,611 of heart disease. It was the first year in which cancer deaths surpassed heart disease in that ethnic group.
Cancer is also the leading cause of death for Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders. And it is now the leading killer in 18 states, according to 2009 numbers from the CDC.
Hispanics are the nation's largest and fastest-growing major ethnic group, and many of them are young immigrants from Mexico. Most heart disease deaths are in people 65 and older. The vast majority of Hispanics in the U.S. are under 55.
The story is different in Mexico, which has an older population. There, diabetes is the biggest killer, with cancer No. 2, according to 2009 statistics from the Pan American Health Organization.
Interestingly, none of the states where cancer has overtaken heart disease is in the Southwest, which has large Hispanic populations. Instead, most are in the nation's northern tier, including Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Minnesota, Wisconsin and the four states of upper New England.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (6/18-6/24)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Me & the homie @jaleelwhite #RujohnFoundation Happy to be in Jamaica! Good times
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5. Good Morning. Early day in Detroit! Making press rounds for @thebossnetwork's Ladies That Lead Tour. Thank you @traycemadre and @colourbynumbr for my glam.
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6. POWER the best show on TV @djenvy, Queens we so big out here. #EFFENVODKA #FRIGO
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7. They said u lost a step, wasn't explosive as once was, the best days was in the real view, questioned your drive, your leadership, your commitment, you don't have killer instinct, going back home is the worst mistake in your career, he got the coach fired, players traded, won't work between him and Kyrie, Him and Kev won't work, love your teammates to much, there's no way he can deliver a championship in his hometown, etc etc etc.... But guess what THATS NONE OF MY BUSINESS #StriveForGreatness #ThisOneIsForTheLand #PutSomeRespeckOnMyName Hahahaha!!! Yes sir
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8. Oooooh weeee this man right here is responsible for at least three of our four babies!! #JOE ❤❤❤🎤 #rnb #king #voicelikebutter #ForPeetesSake
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9. Hanging with my @abcnetwork family! @abcunclebuck tonite y'all check us out ! @anthonyanderson @traceeellisross
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10. My broski ( @sayeedshahidi ) and I are on Top 5 Live on @go90 at 5 (which is super duper close)! Make sure to tune in :) #UncleBuck #Blackish
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11. Lights out💤 #GoodNight
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12. Late nights mornings
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13. Ran into the lovely talented @siedahgarrett on this brutiful favvuz deh!
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14. #halal #love #thedargans #kattwilliamsSHOW #mashallah when that Jennah piece HIT!! @sweetjennahcollection glasses by @baddieglamaccessories LIZ 😍 @dynamiteko top @dazzledmv and jeans @thevision414 and shoes: @louboutinworld
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15. Big Hair and Optical Illusions #OceanDrive #MiamiLiving #coverparty
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16. MAMA and THE SAVAGES ... ⚓️ #supportyourlocalgirlgang
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17. From the bottom of my ❤️, thank you new followers & old! & hello fellow night owls! #grateful #racheltrue #naturalhair #curlyhair #curlygirl #healthyhair
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18. I feel so grateful because I met these amazing young minds, visiting from Houston TX, during their college tour stop today at #usc.These students are ALL extraordinary and embody academic excellence so I'm humbled to have shared a few moments with them to applaud and celebrate their bright futures ahead! Thank you @EmergeFellows for inviting me to speak and blessing me with your love and attention this afternoon!
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19. Happy Fathers Day Pops. U taught me how to be a man. Lessons of love, hard work & gratefulness. Sorry the fishing didn't stick. LOL. I Love U!
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20. Sky Zone and Ice Cream! Best Fathers Day Ever!! Photo credit @mariahcarey
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21. Look what finally came in the mail 😎 #mtvmovieawards2016 💥+🌽! #straightouttacompton
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22. Claudia Jordan: ....
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23. 'Member that time I almost knocked a bajillion dollar camera off the car? Really? Yeah, me neither! #Greenleaf Episode 2 comin atcha!
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24. Full of love. #birthday #Cabo
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25. Oh hey! Look who just joined Snapchat
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