Good News About Death, Bad News About Cancer

Via Sullivan here are the major causes of death in 1900 and 2010:

Due to improved technology -- medical treatments and health awareness, etc -- there are fewer deaths per capita, but more overall cancer deaths and heart disease, ironically due to modern advancements in technology and industry.

  • drsquid

    Cancer deaths is mostly due to medical advances making us live longer – the single biggest cause of cancer is advancing age.

  • pgeorge

    How can there be “fewer deaths per capita.” Doesn’t each person get just one death? People may have died younger in 1900 than now, of diseases related to lack of sanitation/epidemics, whereas now they live long enough to succumb more to cancer and heart disease from lifestyles and toxins (even hereditary factors that didn’t have a chance to kick in when diphtheria took you out at 36) – but we still will each die once, and I’m sure there is 100% mortality for everyone alive in 1900.

    • scifritz

      Annual basis…In the year 1900 that was the number of people alive, in that year, who died. Same with 2010. If, in 1900, 100,000 of 100,000 people died, we’d all be extinct.

      • pgeorge

        It’s the “per capita” (per head) that makes it wrong. You can’t have more or less than one death per head.

  • James Laing

    well the lifespan was `47 in 1900. without antibiotics and indoor plumbing people didn’t live long enough to get Cancer or Alzheimers

  • scifritz

    But this doesn’t really say how people may be better surviving cancer or coping with heart disease longer than before, just that medical technology has advanced to the point that cancer and heart disease get their chance.

    • Doran

      I’m 21 years past my first bout with cancer and about a 10 past my second. If it were 1900, I would have been dead decades ago.

  • Corebela

    I wonder how accurate the 1900 part is. Back then they were not nearly as knowledgable about causes of death. There was probably a lot more cancer deaths, they just didn’t know it was cancers.