For all of the advances in modern medicine, it seems like many things remain the same. Politics, headlines, and funding appear to have as much influence as medicine and science for finding cures. Case in point, HIV/AIDS threatened to wipe out millions, yet it is not shown in either list. It became a cause célèbre, was well funded, and today is a mere blip in the grand scheme of leading causes of death.
During 1900, leading causes of death were: Pneumonia or influenza, Tuberculosis, Gastrointestinal infections, Heart disease, Cerebrovascular disease (stroke), Nephropathies (causes are Diabetes, Alcohol abuse, Vitamin deficiencies, Infections, and Autoimmune disease), Accidents, and Cancer.
During 1940, leading causes of death were: Diseases of the heart, Cancer and other malignant tumors, Intracranial lesions of vascular origin, Nephritis (all forms), Pneumonia and influenza, Accidents excluding motor-vehicle, Tuberculosis, Diabetes mellitus.
During 2014, leading causes of death among Americans under age 80 were: Heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, such as asthma, bronchitis and emphysema; and accidents. Nearly two-thirds of deaths in the United States were caused by these five diseases or conditions.
Thirty percent of heart disease deaths, 15 percent of cancer deaths, 28 percent of stroke deaths, 36 percent of chronic lower respiratory disease deaths, and 43 percent of accident deaths were preventable, according to the CDC.
It appears we have become much better at defining causes, but not developing cures. To a politician, the problem is the healthcare system, but to a patient, the problem is the disease. To a politician, the symptom is the size of the wallet, but to a patient, the symptom is the size of the tumor.