Cancer: The No. 1 killer of men in the U.K.

Cancer is now the No. 1 killer of men in the U.K., according to research published online on 3 June in Heart.

According to an analysis of 2012-2013 data from each of the four U.K. countries and the Cardiovascular Disease Statistics 2014 report compiled for the British Heart Foundation, deaths from cancer have now exceeded those from cardiovascular disease among U.K. men. Cardiovascular disease remains the primary cause of death among women in the U.K., however, and kills more young women than breast cancer.

Causes of death in the U.K.
  Men Women
Cancer 32% 27%
Cardiovascular disease 29% 28%

Cardiovascular disease includes coronary heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, circulatory system disease, and other vascular/arterial disease.

In other findings, the researchers found that nearly 2.3 million people in the U.K. were living with some form of coronary heart disease in 2012, including approximately half a million with heart failure and 1.1 million with atrial fibrillation.

England was found to have the lowest prevalence of all cardiovascular conditions of the four U.K. countries. Regional variations were noticeable, however, with higher rates found in the north of England than in the south, according to the researchers. The group found that Scotland had the highest prevalence of coronary heart disease, stroke, and peripheral vascular disease. Wales had the highest prevalence of high blood pressure, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation.

While the more than 40% decline in cardiovascular disease death rates since 1960 was among the greatest public health triumphs in the past 50 years, the continuing North-South divide is a stain on the U.K.'s public health record, Dr. Adrian Timmis of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Cardiovascular Biomedical Research Unit at Barts Health in London, wrote in a linked editorial.

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