ARTICLE: A comparative analysis of premature heart disease- and cancer-related mortality in women in the USA, 1999–2018

AUTHORS: Safi U Khan, Siva H Yedlapati, Ahmad N Lone, Muhammad Shahzeb Khan, Nanette K Wenger, Karol E Watson, Martha Gulati, Allison G HaysErin D Michos

JOURNAL: Eur Heart J Qual Care Clin Outcomes. 2021 Feb 8;qcaa099. doi: 10.1093/ehjqcco/qcaa099. Online ahead of print.


Aims: To compare premature heart disease- and cancer-related deaths in women in the USA.

Methods and results: We analysed the US national database of death certificates of women aged <65 from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research database between 1999 and 2018. We measured annual percentage changes (APCs) in age-adjusted mortality rates (AAMRs) and years of potential life lost per 100 000 persons due to heart disease and cancer. Overall, cancer was a more prevalent cause of premature death compared with heart disease. Between 1999 and 2018, the AAMRs decreased for both cancer (61.9/100 000 to 45.6/100 000) and heart disease (29.2/100 000 to 22.6/100 000). However, while APC in AAMR for cancer declined consistently over time, after an initial decline, APC in AAMR for heart disease increased between 2010 and 2018 [0.53 95% confidence interval (0.18-0.89)], with a significant rise in Midwest, medium/small metros, and rural areas after 2008. Compared with cancer, APC in AAMR for heart disease increased in women aged 25-34 years [2.24 (0.30-4.22); 2013-18) and 55-64 years [0.46 (0.13-0.80); 2009-13], as well as Non-Hispanic (NH) Whites [APC, 0.79 (0.46-1.13); 2009-18] and NH American Indian/Alaskan Native [2.71 (0.59-4.87); 2011-2018]. Consequently, the mortality gap between cancer and heart disease has narrowed from an AAMR of 32.7/100 000 to 23.0/100 000.

Conclusions: The mortality gap between cancer and heart disease is decreasing among women <65 years. Intensive cardiovascular health interventions are required focusing on vulnerable young demographic subgroups and underserved regional areas to meet the American Heart Association's Impact Goal and Million Hearts Initiative.

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Study makes it clear why women need to prioritize their own health

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