Report: Cancer now leading cause of death among U.S. Hispanics

Cancer passes heart disease as top killer

SAN ANTONIO - A new report out this week by the American Cancer Society, shows that cancer is now the leading cause of death among Hispanic Americans.

According to the report, cancer has overtaken heart disease when it comes to the mortality rate among U.S Latinos.

READ: Cancer Facts & Figures for Hispanic/Latinos 2012-2014

The most recent numbers available are from 2009, showing that more Hispanics die from cancer each year than from any other cause.

"About 30,000 Hispanics died due to cancer and about 29,000 died due to heart disease," said Dr. Patricia Chalela, Health Disparities Researcher at the UT Health Science Center. "As you can see, this is not a very large difference, but this is the first time that cancer surpasses heart disease."

According to researchers, the rest of the population is not far behind, predicting that cancer will become the number one cause of death in the next 10 years.

Dr. Chalela said the study shows that part of the reason that more Hispanics die from cancer each year than from any other cause is because the Hispanic population is younger.

"Cancer tends to kill people at younger ages than heart disease," said Chalela. "Most heart disease deaths kill people who are 65 years and older and the vast majority of our Hispanic population is 55 and younger."

However, Chalela said the results of this study should be looked at as opportunity to focus on prevention.

"We Hispanics need to take control of our health," she said. "We need to get screenings for cancer because cancer screening can save lives. It has been proven."


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