Cancer has now become the leading cause of death in North Carolina.
Mortality data for 2006 shows that cancer is now the number one cause of death, while heart disease has dropped to number two. For the past 90 years heart disease has killed the most people in North Carolina each year.
North Carolina now joins six other states with more cancer deaths. The state health department says heart disease death rates have been declining dramatically since the early 1980s. Experts say cancer rates have also been dropping, but much more slowly.
Cancer accounted for 17, 267 deaths of the total of 74,419 resident deaths in North Carolina last year, or about 195 deaths per 100,000 people. Heart disease accounted for 17,189 deaths, or 194 deaths per 100,000 people.
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