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Cancer Set to Become the No. 1 Killer

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New research has shown that cancer will overtake cardiovascular disease as the most fatal disease across the world in 2010.

The report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is asking governments to take action and to help fund cancer research projects and prevention, as cancer numbers had doubled between 1975 and 2000 and are set to almost triple by 2030.

Dr Tim Gardner is the President of the American Heart Association (AHA) and has welcomed the report and hopes to be able to work alongside cancer organizations to help reduce the risks of both cancer and cardiovascular disease.

According to the research, both low and middle income countries will see a rise in cancer and cardiovascular related deaths more than industrialized countries. Studies into cardiovascular disease showed that 85% of deaths linked with the illness happen in low and middle income countries.

The IARC blame the rise in fatalities on developing countries taking up more "Western" habits such as smoking and intake of high fat (including trans-fat) and high calorie foods.

Dr Gardner said: "Obviously, this new cancer report is an important prediction... The risk and demographic factors they have identified as predictive of an increase in cancer deaths are the very same factors that are going to result in more cardiovascular deaths, too, so we are on the same track."

The above mentioned report revealed that cancer related death is decreasing in the US, with coronary heart disease being the first and stroke being the third biggest killers. Developments have also been made to help fight these two illnesses, but Dr Gardner recognises the necessity to focus on cutting down on obesity and lack of physical activity.

He said that, "the momentum of reducing heart disease and stroke deaths will be lost. We will see our children developing heart disease earlier. This could reverse the progress in cardiovascular death rates that we have seen over the past decade."

He went on to say: "We are not jealous about our position in terms of heart disease being the number-one killer; it's a distinction none of us want to have... The AHA has been working for decades to move out of that "top spot" of being the number-one killer. But unless we can do better in reducing some of these risk factors in the US, it may be a long time before we can shed the title of number one."

It is believed that smoking is responsible for almost 440,000 of over 2.4 million deaths in the US every year, and this pattern is set to continue in less developed countries, maybe even on a more serious scale. It is predicted that cigarettes will be responsible for one million deaths every year in India by 2010.

According to Dr Gardner: "Tobacco use is an enormous health burden across the globe and makes a significant contribution to deaths from both cancer and cardiovascular disease... We applaud the findings of the IARC report. We're very concerned about smoking rates in the US and newly developed countries, and we are really working very hard on trying to deal with that - the one risk factor that can most easily be targeted."


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