Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and has been for decades. In 2014, there were more than 614,000 deaths from heart disease. However, a look at the long term trend lines shows that the number of deaths from heart disease is a curve that went up in the 70s and 80s and then has been coming back down in more recent years. The inflection point was 1985 with over 770,000 deaths from heart disease.
Cancer deaths meanwhile have been steadily increasing in a more or less straight line fashion from about 210,000 in 1950 to nearly 600,000 in 2014. Cancer is the second leading cause of death and has now nearly caught up with heart disease.
As of the most recent year, 2014, there were 22 states in which cancer deaths have surpassed heart disease deaths. The statisticians who wrote this brief note that the “leading-cause crossover” between heart disease and cancer was expected for the nation as a whole sometime around 2010, but that there was an uptick in heart disease mortality that kept this from happening at that time.
Source: Heron, M., and Anderson, R.N. (2016, Aug.). Changes in the leading cause of death: Recent patterns in heart disease and cancer mortality. NCHS Data Brief, 254. Click here for free full text: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db254.pdf Also, data tables here: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db254_table.pdf#1 Posted by AHA Resource Center (312) 422-2050, firstname.lastname@example.org