Cardiovascular diseases are directly linked to death as most recently they were the number one cause of deaths across the globe. Mind you, they were, but no more. The new leading cause of deaths in the world right now is cancer.

It has been reported that cancer kills more people than any other illness in the world. It is the cause of more than 17.3 million deaths globally. With these huge numbers, cancer has overtaken cardiovascular diseases as the leading cause of deaths in over 12 major European countries, namely Belgium, Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, the UK, Norway, and Israel in the Middle East.

Cancer first expanded its deadly domain over Europe from France, when in 2011 it was declared the leading cause of mortality. Data published in the European Heart Journal showed that although CVD led to more than 4 million deaths every year — 45% of the total deaths in Europe — cancer is the foremost cause of death. Astonishingly, more men are now dying from cancer then CVDs, except for in Denmark and Israel, where more women die from cancer.

According to Dr Nick Townsend, senior researcher at the BHF Center at the University of Oxford, “The 12 countries in which cancer has overtaken CVD as the main cause of death are all found in Western Europe [except for Israel which is in Western Asia].”

The same study also highlights a new measurement for the first time, terming it disability-adjusted life years (DALYS). DALYS represents the ‘number of years of life lost to deaths from CVD or years lived with disability due to the condition’. 1 DALY is equal to 1 year of healthy life gone due to disease. The quantity of DALY as a result of CVD was found to be highest in Ukraine, while the second position is taken by the Russian Federation.