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In developed countries, cancer is second only to cardiovascular diseases as a cause of mortality and accounts for about 1/4 of all deaths. Three factors contribute to the increase in cancer mortality: *in developed countries deaths from cardiovascular diseases are declining;
*the “graying” of the population means that people are living longer and cancer is more frequent in older age groups; and
*increasing use of tobacco, mostly as cigarette smoking, during the past few decades has resulted in a greater incidence of related cancers, especially lung cancer. Indeed the increase in smoking in young women is resulting in a rapid rise in the incidence of lung cancer, which in some developed countries is surpassing breast cancer as the commonest cancer in women.

In contrast, perinatal disorders and infections comprise less than 10% of the mortality in developed countries, and it continues to drop.