• Question: If cancer is the second leading cause of death, what is the first?

    Asked by issiphee1 to Gioia, Iain, Jo, Leo, Mariam on 22 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Joanna Watson

      Joanna Watson answered on 18 Jun 2010:

      Hi issiphee1 – that sounds like a really simple question to answer doesn’t it, but it actually depends how you group the causes of death together.

      About 150,000 people died of cancer in the UK in 2008. If you add all the diseases of the circulatory system together (strokes, heart disease and others) then about 170,000 people died of them in the UK in 2008 – but if you split the diseases of the circulatory system up and count them separately, there were only about 88,000 deaths.

      It’s really interesting how questions that sound like they should be easy to answer can sometimes be much more complicated than you think, isn’t it?!

    • Photo: Leo Garcia

      Leo Garcia answered on 19 Jun 2010:

      Diseases of the heart are the biggest cause of death in the world. Cancer is not the second though:


      But the 4th, after infectious diseases and ischaemic heart disease.

    • Photo: Iain Moal

      Iain Moal answered on 19 Jun 2010:

      Heart disease.

    • Photo: Gioia Cherubini

      Gioia Cherubini answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      I’m not sure, but it should be heart diseases

    • Photo: Mariam Orme

      Mariam Orme answered on 22 Jun 2010:

      I think that the biggest cause of death in the UK is heart disease.