Will Cancer Soon Be America’s #1 Killer?

medical staff reading a xray
According to the American Cancer Society, one particular group now suffers more from cancer-related deaths than deaths from heart disease – and the rest of the country may be only a few years behind.

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Cancer has overtaken heart disease as the primary killer among Hispanics in the U.S., and while death rates for both cancer and heart disease have been dropping for everyone, heart disease deaths have fallen faster, largely because of improved treatment and prevention, including the development of cholesterol-lowering drugs.

Overall, cancer will probably replace heart disease as the nation’s top cause of death in the next 10 years, said Rebecca Siegel of the American Cancer Society, lead author of a study reporting the new findings.

Government health statisticians think the crossover point could be reached as early as this year, or at least in the next two or three years.

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.

Robin Roberts Recovering From Bone Marrow Transplant

Robin Roberts on GMA wearing a pink dressGood Morning America” host Robin Roberts seems to be recovering well a day after her bone marrow transplant to treat a rare blood disorder.

Read: Robin Roberts Diagnosed With MDS

Roberts, 51, underwent the five-minute transplant on Sept. 20, 2012, when she was injected with a syringe carrying cells donated by her sister Sally-Ann, said Dr. Gail Roboz, an oncologist at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

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Roboz described an email she received on Friday morning from Roberts.

“This morning she sounds energized and she wants to be out of bed and the end of the email was, ‘I want to go home’ with an exclamation point.”

Roberts revealed in June that she had been diagnosed with myelodyplastic syndrome (MDS), a bone marrow disorder triggered by treatment for breast cancer five years ago.

READ: MDS: A Rare Disease Of The Blood

Her doctor cautioned that the road to recovery may not be smooth, as Roberts’ immune system was weakened to undergo the bone marrow transplant, putting her at increased risk of infection.

“We have to roll with the punches over the next few days because, don’t forget, her systems are down,” Roboz said. “We are wanting every day to be a good day, but we are ready for some bumps in the road.”

After recovering for several months from the procedure, Roberts is expected to return to her co-anchor chair at the TV program.