Some data on causes of death

Some data on causes of death October 10, 2014

Here’s a nice interactive table on causes of death – specify the age range and sex, and see the sorted data.  Commentary later . . .


As a follow-up on my “breast cancer awareness” rant from this morning, here’s a summary of the top causes for individuals under age 75 (because, as you know from Zeke Emmanuel, 75s and up are just useless eaters anyway; and you’ve got to die of something, so “75 and under” seems like a good marker of “premature death).  Note that below “other cancers” means “cancers that aren’t specifically listed separately” such as the other ones shown here but also ovarian cancer, liver cancer, and others.

Top causes of death for individuals under 75
Men Women
Heart disease 95,880 Heart disease 40,853
Lung cancers  53,632 Lung cancers  39,765
Other cancers 32,299 Breast cancer 25,841
Suicide 27,654 Lung disease 23,959
Lung disease 25,364 Other cancers 21,829
Road traffic accidents 22,169 Stroke 16,984
Poisoning 20,869 Diabetes 14,236
Diabetes 20,331 Colo-rectal cancer 11,604
Stroke 20,236 Poisoning 11,601
Liver Disease 18,307 Hypertension 9,321
So if you look at the sexes individually, the data for women clearly shows that, as the Go Red campaign tells us, women are at greater risk of dying from heart disease than breast cancer.  (Lung cancer prevention is, I imagine, covered fairly well by anti-smoking campaigns, though the fact that most lung cancer is due to smoking means that there’s very little interest in treatment or cures for the disease.)  
But if you look at the data for men and women side-by-side, heart disease is a massive problem for men — and, last I checked, there is no “Go Red for Men” campaign to accompany the campaign for women’s heart health.  No specially-marked packages of bacon to go along with the special yogurt cups, for instance.
Lung cancer is high for both men and women.  
But here’s what I didn’t expect:  more men die from suicide than women die of breast cancer.  
Just let that sink in.
Does suicide have its own special color?  Does the NFL have a special themed uniforms?  
Here’s another surprise:  suicides do not primarily occur among young men.  Here’s another table:  more suicides among middle-aged men than teens and young adults.
Suicide Breast Cancer

all deaths               30,271               40,996
0 – 14                     187                        –  
15- 24                 3,771                          6
25 – 34                 4,643                     322
35 – 44                 5,033                 2,032
45 – 54                 6,733                 5,876
55 – 64                 4,869                 9,015
65 – 74                 2,418                 8,590
75+                 2,617               15,155

It is true that adding in the 75+ deaths does mean that breast cancer is more deadly overall because of the imbalance among the elderly.  But still . . . 

Anyway, yes, it’s a bit misleading just to look at death statistics, since (a) deaths due to breast cancer are only a part of the picture and the women who undergo expensive, traumatic and disabling treatment need help, too, and (b) one might say (though I haven’t looked at deaths over time) that breast cancer death rates are low precisely because of all the “awareness” and fundraising and research, and would go back up if people let up on their efforts.
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