"The world is witnessing a new epidemiologic transition among the different categories of non-communicable diseases, with cardiovascular disease no longer the leading cause of death in high-income countries," said Gilles Deganais, emeritus professor at Laval University, in Quebec.
He said his team's study showed that cancer was the second most common cause of death globally in 2017, accounting for just over a quarter (26 percent) of all deaths.
Deganais said that as heart disease rates fell globally, cancer could become the leading cause of death worldwide "within just a few decades".
The study followed more than 160,000 adults, in high-, middle-, and low-income countries over the course of decade. It determined that people in poorer nations were on average 2.5 times more likely to die from heart disease than those in richer ones.
It conversely found that non-infectious diseases such as cancer and pneumonia were less common in low-income states than in richer ones.
A second study, also by researchers in Canada, and looking at data from patients in the same 21 countries, found that so-called "modifiable risk factors" accounted for 70 percent of heart disease cases globally.
"A change in tack is required to alleviate the disproportionately high impact of cardiovascular disease in low- and middle-income countries," said Salim Yusuf, professor of medicine at McMaster University.
"Governments in these countries need to start investing a greater portion of their gross domestic product in preventing and managing non-communicable diseases including cardiovascular disease, rather than focusing largely on infectious diseases."
Every 60 minutes, 15 people are diagnosed with cancer in Argentina, and there are 129,000 new cases each year in the country, a recent report from the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has revealed.
Close to 68,000 deaths are caused by cancer in Argentina each year, which is the thirdhighest cancer mortality rate in Latin America. Breast cancer is the most frequent form of the disease, with 73 cases per 100,000 women each year.