Cancer will overtake heart disease as the leading cause of death in the U.S. by 2020 if trends continue, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Using mortality data, population estimates and population projections, CDC researchers predicted age-standardized death rates for heart disease and cancer from 1969 through 2020. Although heart disease and cancer risk rates have both declined, the decline in heart disease risk began earlier in the late 1960s and was steeper than the decline in the risk of death from cancer, which began in the 1990s. Coupled with population and demographic changes, they predict cancer will become the leading cause of death by 2020.