With many cancer rates going down, there has been an uptick in uterine cancer diagnoses. In particular, uterine cancer is hitting African-American women hard at rates currently 80% higher than Caucasian women. With an estimated 54,000+ cases in 2015 and over 10,000+ deaths attributable to uterine cancer in the US, clearly, the numbers are on the rise. One study projects a death toll of 12,000 a year by 2030.
The study published in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, biomarkers, and prevention used information from the National Cancer Institute’s Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program the researchers factored in race-ethnicity-age-stage-grade-cancer sub-types.
They concluded that across most stages and types of uterine cancer, African-American women had much poorer outcomes in comparison to Caucasian women.
In fact, results indicated that African-American women were consistently more likely to be diagnosed with aggressive tumor subtypes such as clear-cell carcinoma and serous carcinoma at rates far higher than Caucasian women. In the study, 12% of African-American women — compared to 5% of Caucasian women — were diagnosed with Serous Cell Cancer, and 3% of African-American women — compared to 1% Caucasian women — were diagnosed with Clear Cell Cancer.
In the United States, African-American and Latino women also account for the highest rates of diabetes as well as the highest rates of obesity, which is one of the greatest factors in uterine cancer. These factors led researchers to believe that the two groups would have similar rates of uterine cancers, but they did not. Researchers believe there is something about biological makeup of the endometrial tumors that causes the tumors to act more aggressively toward African-American women, but the “why” for that is unknown.