(ATLANTA) -- Experts and leaders from 193 nations across the globe will meet next week at the United Nations conference in New York City to discuss strategies to lower the death toll from “non-communicable diseases” like cancer, lung disease and diabetes.
HealthDay reports that these diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide, killing as many as 36 million people a year, according to a new report issued this week by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Cardiac illnesses are accountable for 48 percent of non-communicable disease fatalities, according to WHO.
"This will be the first time that the U.N. has actually focused on the major killer of most people," said chief medical officer for the American Cancer Society, Dr. Otis Brawley, and a professor of oncology and epidemiology at Emory University in Atlanta.
"We need this," he added. "We need a chronic disease movement. We need to drive attention toward overall health. Because cancer, for example, kills more people in the world than HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined."
Additional findings in the WHO report suggest that 87 percent of all deaths in the U.S. are caused by non-communicable diseases.
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