Top Killers of the Century

While the last thing you want to think about are the diseases and conditions that kill people each year, knowing about them helps to spread awareness and prevent these afflictions from hurting more people.

Luckily, many of these issues have seen steady improvement over time. But over the past century, they have taken more lives than any other conditions.

Read on to discover the top killers of the last 100 years.


Mesothelioma is a type of cancer that develops from the thin layer of tissue that covers the internal organs. It most commonly affects the lining of the lungs and the chest wall.

Asbestos exposure can cause mesothelioma. There is no cure for this disease, but treatment can help.

Mesothelioma is considered very rare. There are fewer than 20,000 cases per year, according to the Mayo Clinic.


The American Psychiatric Association defines addiction as follows:

Addiction is a complex condition, a brain disease that is manifested by compulsive substance use despite harmful consequence. People with addiction (severe substance use disorder) have an intense focus on using a certain substance(s), such as alcohol or drugs, to the point that it takes over their life. They keep using alcohol or a drug even when they know it will cause problems.

Addiction can be treated as long as the person in question is willing to accept help.


According to Medical News Today, Rheumatoid Arthritis can lead to widespread inflammation that causes life-threatening complications. They write, “a person with RA may have a lifespan that is approximately 10, or at most 15, years shorter than average.”

These complications include cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, infections and musculoskeletal conditions.

However, people with RA can be treated and maintain the same life expectancy as people without RA.

Car accidents

Nearly 1.25 million people globally die in car accidents every year, which is an average of about 3,287 deaths per day, according to the Association for Safe International Road Travel.

In the United States, over 37,000 people die in car accidents each year.


In the midst of the opioid crisis in the United States, this one shouldn’t be too surprising. According to the CDC, 70,237 drug overdose deaths occurred in the US in 2017. Opioids are the main driver of these drug deaths.

Opioids were involved in 67.8% of all drug overdoses in 2017.


Fortunately, cancer treatments are advancing and death rates are steadily declining. But still, cancer rates are much too high for comfort.

Based on recent data, according to the National Cancer Institute, the number of new cases of cancer is about 440/100,000 men and woman per year. The American Cancer Society says that researchers expected more than 1.7 million new cancer cases to be diagnosed in 2019.