WHO Report: Cancer, diabetes are top causes of death

Kari Kimball, Staff Writer

Noncommunicable diseases are responsible for over 70 percent of all deaths worldwide which amounts to 41 million people.

These diseases include: diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Risk factors for this type of diseases include tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diets and air pollution.

Due to the increasing popularity of the risk factors, noncommunicable diseases are following an upward trend in frequency.


Diabetes results in high levels of blood glucose. Glucose in the blood comes from foods eaten.

Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into the body’s cells to give them energy. Without enough insulin, the glucose stays in the person’s blood, elevating their blood glucose levels above the normal level.

The effects of diabetes include damage to the eyes, kidneys and nerves. It can lead to heart disease, stroke and even the need to remove a limb.


Cancer is characterized by the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. When the body’s normal control mechanism stops working, it allows cells to grow out of control, creating a tumor.

There are two types of tumors: benign and malignant. Benign tumors are tumors that stay where they originated from and do not have the ability to spread throughout the body. Malignant tumors however, do possess the ability to spread to other parts of the body.

Treatments for cancer include radiation therapy, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and surgery. Radiation therapy uses intense beams of energy to kill cancer cells. Methods often include Chemotherapy is a drug treatment that uses powerful chemicals to kill cells that are fast-growing.

Immunotherapy is a type of biological therapy that helps the affected person’s immune system fight cancer. Some immunotherapies work by marking cancer cells, making it easier for the immune system to find and destroy them. Other immunotherapies boost the patient’s immune system to work better against cancer.

Surgical treatment of cancer involves removing the tumor or tumors from the affected person’s body.

Heart Disease

Heart disease involves narrowed or blocked blood vessels. Conditions considered as a heart disease fall under three main branches: blood vessel diseases such as coronary artery disease, heart rhythm problems and heart defects the affected person is born with.

A buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries is the most common cause of heart diseases. Plaque buildup thickens and stiffens artery walls, inhibiting blood flow through arteries. Plaque buildup can easily be prevented by eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise and not smoking.


The World Health Organization (WHO) advises that countries around the world cooperate with each other to advocate for healthier lifestyles that reduce the risk of developing a noncommunicable disease