Cancer and Heart Disease: The who, why, and what of it
Cancer and heart disease are the top two killers of Americans, but who is at the greatest risk; men or women and why? The first thing we must do to prevent ourselves from developing either of these deadly diseases, whatever gender you are, is to learn as much as you can about them both. Learning which behaviors you might possess, if any, that increase your odds of falling victim to either of these disease, prevention tips, and knowing what to ask your doctor are just a few ideas for what you can do to educate yourself about these diseases. Heart disease is a broad term used to describe any type of disorder that affects the heart. Not to be confused with cardiovascular disease which affects both the arteries and the heart; heart disease only affects the heart. There are many types of heart disease, such as cyanotic heart disease. This is when the heart is unable to deliver an adequate amount of oxygen to the body because of a defect or multiple defects. Some other types of heart disease are dilated cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and this is only a few. The one thing that the many types of heart disease have in common is the failure to deliver the necessary amount of blood to the body and vital organs. According to the World Health Organization, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the UK, USA, Canada, and Australia. In the USA, 25.4% of all deaths that occur each year are due to heart disease.
Coming in a close second, Cancer is the #2 leading cause of death in the USA. Cancer is a term used for diseases in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues. Like heart disease cancer comes in many different forms, some of which are bone cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and countless others. All cancers begin in our cells and our bodies which are made up of many types of cells. These cells grow and divide to produce more cells that are needed to keep the body healthy. When cells become old or damaged, they die and are replaced with new cells. Sometimes this process goes wrong and the cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this happens, cells do not die when they should and new cells form when the body does not need them. The extra cells may form a mass of tissue called a tumor. This is a cancer. Some are benign, which are tumors that are non-life threatening usually, and not permanently damaging. Others are malignant, meaning they require treatment due to the fact that they could lead to death. It is estimated that 854,790 men and 805,500 women will be diagnosed with some type of cancer in 2013, and of those 1,660,290 people that are diagnosed with cancer, 580, 350 of those people will die from their disease. But when talking about heart disease and cancer both, who is at the greatest risk for these diseases, men or women? Let’s find out! It is thought by many that heart disease is a man’s disease and women are more likely to develop cancer than heart disease but this is simply not the case. In fact, nearly 500,000 women will die this year from heart disease, twice as many as will die from a type of cancer. In 1998 the National Center for Health Statistics conducted a survey asking women what they perceived was their most serious health threat. 65% of the women polled stated that some type of cancer was
their greatest threat, while 4% stated heart disease. The actuality is heart disease is 36% of a women’s greatest health threat while cancer came in at only 9%. Therein lays the problem. There are measures we can take however, both