Heart disease is no longer the leading cause of death in rich countries – now it is cancer that could become the world’s biggest killer in just a few decades if current trends continue, scientists warn.
The scientists said they provided evidence of new global epidemiological transitions between different types of chronic diseases.
While cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of mortality worldwide among people in middle age – and accounts for 40% of all deaths – this is no longer the case in high-income countries, where cancer now kills twice as many as heart disease, show the results of studies.
– Our work found that cancer was the second most common cause of death in the world in 2017 and that it accounted for 26 percent of all deaths. But as the rate of heart disease continues to decline, cancer could become the leading cause of death in the world in just a few decades – said Phil Dazene, a professor at Laval University in Quebec, Canada.