Leading Cause of Death for San Diegans

There's been a big shift in the leading cause of death in San Diego County, which brings with it both good and bad news. Heart disease is no longer the leading cause of death in San Diego, but it's been replaced by cancer.

According to the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA), there were 4,812 cancer deaths in 2007, compared to 4,743 deaths from heart disease.
While the number of people who died of cancer remained relatively flat over a five-year period, the county says the number of heart disease-related deaths dropped 12 percent.

"Cancer is now the leading cause of death in San Diego County residents," said County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "However, it's because heart disease deaths have decreased faster than cancer deaths."

Despite more cancer-related deaths, doctors say that better medicine and technology have been developed to reduce heart attack and stroke. They also say there are signs that progress is being made to combat cancer, as well as stroke and infant mortality. Obesity and diabetes, however, are still a concern for local health officials.

According to county HHSA statistics, there were 175 cancer deaths for every 100,000 people in 2003. In 2007 that dropped to 162 - a 13 percent drop.

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