Trends in Cancer and Heart Disease Death Rates Among Adults Aged 45–64: United States, 1999–2017

May 22, 2019

Questions for Sally Curtin, M.A., Statistician, and Lead Author of “Trends in Cancer and Heart Disease Death Rates Among Adults Aged 45–64: United States, 1999–2017.”

Q:  Why are death rates from cancer dropping steadily over time and why are death rates from heart disease starting to rise?

SC: The death rates are a reflection of a few things—the prevalence of a disease, how often is occurs in the population, as well as its treatment and survival.  As this is purely a statistical analysis, others can speak to the trends in these factors.


Q:  You write that cancer treatments might contribute to subsequent heart disease for patients and might help explain the increase in heart disease mortality.  Which cancer treatments are contributing to this subsequent heart disease among cancer patients?

SC: The cardiotoxicity of cancer treatments is just one way that these two seemingly disparate diseases are related.  It is well known in the medical community that radiation and many chemotherapies can increase the risk of subsequent heart disease. In our analysis, we didn’t examine which treatments might be contributing to heart disease risk.


Q:  Which groups are seeing the biggest decline in cancer death rates?

SC: Non-hispanic black men, who have the highest cancer death rates, also had the largest percentage decline over the period at 34%.  In general, the percentage declines were greater for men than for women.


Q:  Which groups are seeing the biggest increase in heart disease death rates?

SC: Non-hispanic white women had a 12% increase since 2009 in heart disease death rates, the greatest of all groups.  In total, middle-aged women had a 7% recent increase compared with 3% for middle-aged men.  Another interesting finding is that Hispanic women, who had the lowest heart disease death rates of all groups, had a 37% decline over the period, the only group to experience a decline over the entire period.


Q:  Does this analysis suggest that cancer will not overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S., which many have been predicting?

SC:  The focus of this report was on the middle-age population, and Cancer is the leading cause of death in the 45-64 year old population as shown in this report, whereas heart disease remains the leading cause in the total population.  While we do not make predictions about what data trends will look like in the future, it is safe to say that if the recent upturn in heart disease continues, it is unlikely that this switch will occur anytime soon.

 


QuickStats: Number of Deaths from 10 Leading Causes by Sex — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2015

April 24, 2017

In 2015, a total of 1,339,226 deaths among females and 1,373,404 deaths among males occurred.

Heart disease and cancer were the top two causes of death for both females and males; other leading causes varied in rank by sex.

The 10 leading causes of death accounted for approximately three-quarters of all deaths.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6615a8.htm


State by State Health Data Source Updated on NCHS Web Site

April 19, 2017

CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics has updated its Stats of the States feature on the NCHS web site.  This resource features the latest state-by-state comparisons on key health indicators ranging from birth topics such as teen births and cesarean deliveries to leading causes of death and health insurance coverage.

Tabs have been added to the color-coded maps to compare trends on these topics between the most recent years (2015 and 2014) and going back a decade (2005) and in some cases further back.

To access the main “Stats of the States” page, use the following link:

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/stats_of_the_states.htm


Utilization of Clinical Preventive Services for Cancer and Heart Disease Among Insured Adults: United States, 2015

March 8, 2017

Questions for Anjel Vahratian, Supervisory Statistician (Health) and Lead Author on “Utilization of Clinical Preventive Services for Cancer and Heart Disease Among Insured Adults: United States, 2015

Q: Why did you decide to look at clinical preventive services for cancer and heart disease among insured adults?

AV: Heart disease and cancer are the top two leading causes of death in the United States. The clinical preventive services discussed in this report are recommended for the prevention or early detection of heart disease and cancer. We limited our analysis to insured adults because most insurance plans were required to cover these clinical preventive services without co-payment from the insured adult in 2015.


Q: What did your report find out about cancer screenings among insured adults?

AV: In 2015, two-thirds of insured adults aged 50-75 were screened for colorectal cancer within the recommended intervals, and screening was significantly associated with age for both men and women. Insured women aged 50-59 were more likely to be screened for colorectal cancer compared with men of the same age. Among insured women, more than 8 out of 10 of those aged 21-65 had been screened for cervical cancer, and nearly 3 out of 4 of those aged 50-74 had been screened for breast cancer within the recommended intervals.


Q: What did your report find out about heart disease screenings among insured adults?

AV: In 2015, more than 8 in 10 insured adults aged 18 and over had their blood pressure checked by a doctor or other health professional, and about 2 in 3 overweight and obese insured adults aged 40-70 had a fasting blood test for high blood sugar or diabetes in the past 12 months. Receipt of these services increased with advancing age and varied by sex. Insured women aged 18-39 and 40-64 were more likely than their male peers to have their blood pressure checked in the past 12 months, and insured overweight and obese women aged 40-49 were more likely than men of the same age and BMI to have a fasting blood test or diabetes in the past 12 months.


Q: Was there a specific finding that you found surprising?

AV: It was surprising that only 49.5% of overweight and obese insured men aged 40-49 had a fasting blood test for diabetes in the past 12 months. Diabetic adults are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease, and overweight and obesity and abnormal blood glucose are modifiable cardiovascular risk factors.


Q: What is the take home message of this report?

AV: Utilization of clinical preventive services aimed at the early detection of cancer and cardiovascular disease varied by sex and age among insured adults. Insured adults in their 40s and 50s were less likely than those in their 60s to be screened for colorectal cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Limited knowledge about the recommendations for clinical preventive services may prevent eligible adults from seeking out timely preventive care.


Fact or Fiction: Cancer now the leading cause of death in a majority of U.S. states?

August 25, 2016


Changes in the Leading Cause of Death: Recent Patterns in Heart Disease and Cancer Mortality

August 24, 2016

Questions for Melonie Heron, Demographer and Lead Author on “Changes in the Leading Cause of Death: Recent Patterns in Heart Disease and Cancer Mortality

Q: How have trends in deaths from heart disease and cancer changed since 1950?

MH: Since 1950, the number of heart disease deaths generally increased (by 43%) to a peak in 1985, declined (by 23%) from 1985 through 2011, then increased again (by 3%) from 2011 through 2014. In contrast, the number of cancer deaths nearly tripled from 1950 through 2014.


Q: Is it inevitable that cancer will ultimately pass heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S.?

MH: Because of the declining gap between heart disease and cancer deaths, it was expected that cancer would overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S. in the early 2010s. However, the reversal in trend for heart disease deaths in 2012 changed that. It remains to be seen whether the uptick in heart disease deaths will be sustained.


Q: Where do heart disease and cancer rank as leading causes of death at the state level, and how has that changed over the years?

MH: Heart disease was the leading cause of death for all U.S. states, with cancer as the second leading cause. In 1990, Alaska became the first state to experience a switch in ranks between these two causes. In 2000, Minnesota experienced the same switch. As of 2014, there are now 22 states with cancer as the leading cause of death.


Q: How have heart disease and cancer changed as leading causes of death among different race/ethnic groups over time?

MH: For the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations, heart disease has consistently been the leading-cause of death, with cancer as the second leading cause. That remained the case in 2014. However, for the non-Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander and Hispanic populations, cancer deaths have been increasing more than heart disease deaths. Cancer replaced heart disease as the leading cause of death for the non-Hispanic API population in 2000, and for the Hispanic population in 2009.


Q: What do you think is the most significant finding is in your new study?

MH: Despite a narrowing of the gap between heart disease and cancer deaths over time, especially since the 1980s, heart disease remained the leading cause of death for the total U.S. population and for the non-Hispanic white and non-Hispanic black populations in 2014. This was due, in large part, to a recent increase in heart disease deaths. However, in the non-Hispanic API and Hispanic populations, as well as in 22 states, the mortality burden of cancer has surpassed that of heart disease such that cancer is now the leading cause of death.


American Heart Month

February 25, 2014

2013-2_heartIn honor of American Heart Month, it is important to note that almost 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.  Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States for both men and women, accounting for approximately 307,000 deaths for men and 290,000 deaths for women in 2010.

During 2000–2001 through 2010–2011, the prevalence of lifetime respondent-reported heart disease among adults aged 18–54 was similar for men and women. Among adults aged 55 and over, heart disease prevalence was higher for men than for of men aged 75 and over reported having ever been told by a physician they had heart disease, compared with nearly one-third (31%) of women in the same age group.

Links

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_04.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

http://www.cdc.gov/Features/HeartMonth/