Uterine Cancer Rates Skyrocketing in U.S., Study Finds

The increasing uterine cancer rates appear to disproportionately affect women of color, who may not be getting the same quality of healthcare as other women in the U.S.

Deaths from uterine cancer have increased in recent years in the U.S., largely due to an increase in a rare aggressive form of the cancer, according to the findings of a new study.

Researchers in the U.S. and Denmark warn that mortality rates among women due to uterine cancer has increased over the last several years, but those increases have been largely dependent on race and ethnicity, and can be pinned on a rare, aggressive form of uterine cancer which has become more prevalent. Their findings were published on May 5 in JAMA Oncology.

More than 65,000 cases of uterine cancer are diagnosed in the United States every year. Nearly 13,000 women will die as a result. Most types of cancers have seen improvements in treatment and early diagnosis, but the same is not the case for uterine cancer.

Researchers studied more than 208,000 women with uterine cancer using data from the US Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results-18 Incidence-Based Mortality database, which represents 26% of the US population. The data included deaths from 2010 to 2017.

Their findings identified a rare and aggressive form of uterine cancer known as Type 2 endometrial cancer, which was responsible for 20% of cases and 45% of uterine cancer deaths during that time.

Deaths from Type 2 increased nearly 3% every year during the eight-year study period from 2010 to 2017. Deaths from less aggressive uterine cancer held the same during that time.

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Overall, uterine cancer deaths increased by nearly 2% during the study period, mainly due to Type 2 endometrial cancer cases. The increases in deaths were much higher for women of certain racial and ethnic backgrounds, including Latina and Black women.

Rates of uterine cancer increased by nearly 7% every year for Latina women, 3.5% for Black women, 3% for Asian women, and 1.5% for white women. Data from this study indicated Black women had twice the rate of deaths from all types of uterine cancer and for the more aggressive type, compared to women from other racial backgrounds.

“Despite stable incidence rates, endometrioid cancer mortality rates have not decreased over the past decade at the population level, suggesting limited progress in treatment for these cancers,” the researchers concluded. “The substantial disparities in uterine corpus cancer mortality rates among non-Hispanic Black women cannot be fully explained by subtype distribution and stage at diagnosis.”

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