Monday, June 12, 2023

Uterine cancer, and its deaths, increasing — particularly among Blacks, Hispanics and Asians

Uterine cancer is on the rise, especially among black women.

That's the conclusion of a study reported by Toni Caryn Rabin in editions of The New York Times a while back.

According to the story, "cancer of the uterus, also called endometrial cancer, is increasing so rapidly that it is expected to displace colorectal cancer by 2040 as the third most common cancer among women, and the fourth-leading cause of women’s cancer deaths."

The study, published in JAMA Oncology, showed that the "mortality rate has been increasing by almost 2 percent a year overall, with even sharper spikes among Asian, Hispanic and Black women," Rabin's article notes.

Uterine cancer, she continues, "was long believed to be less common among Black women. But newer studies have confirmed that it is not only more likely to strike Black women, but also more likely to be deadly."

According to a report from an expert panel convened by the American college of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, "Black women die of uterine cancer at twice the rate of White women," the story asserts.

One of the major problems blocking early detection is that "few women are aware that a change in menstrual bleeding, before or after menopause, is one of the main warning signs, along with pelvic pain and painful urination and intercourse," the article says.

Dr. Shannon Westin
Dr. Shannon Westin, a gynecologic oncologist at the university of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, is reported as saying that "when she first started caring for women with uterine cancer, there were about 39,000 new cases a year. Now, there are more than 65,000 — and she has been in practice only 15 years."

Those figures, she indicates, present "a clear indicator we should be ringing the alarm bells."

Dr. Carol Brown, a gynecologic oncologist, senior vice president and chief health equity officer at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, calls the surge in cases an epidemic. 

"The striking statistic is that right now…the number of women who will lose their lives to endometrial cancer in the U.S. is almost the same as those who will die of ovarian cancer, which is unbelievable to those of us in practice for the last 30 years," she's quoted as saying.

More information on studies with surprising results can be found in "Rollercoaster: How a man can survive his partner's breast cancer," a VitalityPress book that I, Woody Weingarten, aimed at male caregivers. 

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