The Department of Public Health is out with a new analysis on death rates and the study finds Alabama has made significant progress in recent decades against heart disease. But the study finds cancer has killed a surprising number of working-age people.
Kathryn Chapman, deputy director of the statistical analysis division, said heart disease is still the leading cause of death overall in Alabama, but cancer is the number two killer and the leading cause of death for people 45 to 74 years old.
The information was compiled and released Monday as part of a public health campaign on the top ten causes of death in the state. The analysis showed that the age-adjusted heart disease death rate has declined about 28 percent in Alabama since 1979.
By contrast, the cancer death rate has increased by about four percent since 1979. Nationally, the cancer rate has decreased by about five percent.