Methodist in the Media

Cancer Tops Heart Disease as Top Cause of Death in Nebraska

Published: Sept. 6, 2022

In the Omaha metro area, cancer consistently has been the leading cause of death for more than a decade, having first overtaken heart disease in 2005.

The good news is that the mortality rates for both diseases have been falling for decades due to healthier habits and advances in prevention and treatment. The biggest factor is a decrease in smoking, which contributes to both cancer and heart disease deaths and still ranks as the leading cause of preventable death.

But compared with cancer death rates, heart disease mortality rates have come down more, a shift cardiologists attribute largely to the decline in smoking and the recognition and treatment of hypertension and high cholesterol.

“The biggest thing isn’t that cancer is killing more people, it’s that heart disease is killing fewer,” said Dr. William Lydiatt, a surgical oncologist with Methodist Estabrook Cancer Center’s head and neck oncology clinic. “It’s a rather remarkable reduction.”

Omaha World-Herald: Cancer tops heart disease as top cause of death in Nebraska