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SSM Health Medical Minute: Cancer leads heart disease as leading cause of death in US

ST. LOUIS - An important transition is happening across the United States: Cancer was the leading cause of death in more counties than 13 years earlier. A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine suggests that from 2003 to 2015, the rates of mortality due to heart disease declined by 28% overall.

SSM Health Medical Group oncologist, Dr. Mansoor UI Haq says that cardiovascular awareness is high. Heart disease signals and signs mean more patients seek treatment for heart disease reducing their risk of death. It’s likely that differences in mortality trends could be explained by awareness efforts toward reducing smoking, better diet, and more exercise will help prevent heart disease. While cancer has better screening, there is still much to learn about familial relation, and often, the warning signs do not reveal themselves until an advanced stage of cancer.

Also, Dr. Haq says more cancer is being diagnosed overall due to better screening options. Awareness of colonoscopies, advanced CT scans and more research for the genetic causes of cancer are causing more diagnoses. The good news for cancer patients is that treatment is also advancing to help cancer patients live longs. Targeted immunotherapies are replacing toxic chemotherapies. Advanced scans are locating cancer for specific treatments

To learn more about cancer care and prevention from SSM Health click here.

The SSM Health Medical Minute airs every Wednesday at 7 PM on KPLR News 11 and at 9 PM on KTVI Fox 2 News.​

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