The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project that cancer will replace heart disease as the leading cause of death in the United States in two years. Recent data suggests the nation is experiencing a new transition within the chronic disease category. Research conducted by Stanford Medical School found that in 2003 more than three-quarters of all counties had heart disease as the leading cause of death, yet this remained true for only 59% of counties in 2015. Cancer, however, caused the most deaths in about two of every 10 counties in 2003, with the same true for four of every 10 counties in 2015. According to researchers, the improvements in socioeconomic conditions has caused this transition, and it also explains why lower-income areas may see a slower shift in cause of death.
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