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.