To add a bit more fuel to the fire. Here are age-adjusted death rates in 1950 and 2004, for several important causes of death. Heart disease and strokes are way down, cancer has barely changed, diabetes and lower respiratory diseases are up

The lack of progress in cancer is disturbing. These come from the CDC...I'm going to dig around in these numbers a bit more.

Age-adjusted death rates
1950 2004
Heart disease 586.8 217.5
Cerebrovascular diseases 180.7 50.0
Malignant neoplasms 193.9 184.6
Diabetes 23.1 24.4
Alzheimer's ? 21.7
Chronic lower respiratory * 41.8
diseases
*Includes asthma and chronic bronchitis. 1980 value
was 28.3
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