Researchers found an aggressive subtype of uterine cancer that is increasing the death rates among women, particularly among non-Hispanic Black Women.
Type 2 endometrial cancer accounted for 20 percent of cases and 45 percent of deaths, according to a recent study led by researchers at the National Cancer Institute, which analyzed U.S. cancer data between 2000 and 2017 among women 40 and older. This aggressive subtype is more difficult to treat.
Black women also had twofold higher mortality rates than any other racial and ethnic group for any uterine cancer type and for aggressive nonendometrioid subtypes, and Hispanic and Asian women had significantly increased uterine cancer death rates, researchers noted.
Researchers found that among 208,587 women diagnosed with uterine cancer between 2000 through 2017, 7.7 percent were Asian, 9.7 percent were Black, 11.1 percent were Hispanic, and 71.5 percent were White.
The study found that the overall death rate increased by 1.8 percent per year between 2010 to 2017. The annual rates increased by 3.4 percent among Asian women, 3.5 percent among Black women, 6.7 percent among Hispanic women, and 1.5 percent among white women.
“Hysterectomy-corrected rates were highest among Black women, overall, by histologic subtype and stage at diagnosis,” researchers noted.
“The underlying causes for these dramatic increases in uterine cancer incidence and mortality rates are not clear,” said the study's lead investigator, Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S. “Furthermore, despite stable incidence for the less aggressive endometrioid tumors, mortality rates have not decreased, which suggests clinical management has not improved patient outcomes on a population level.”
An estimated 65,950 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and 12,550 women are expected to die from it, the Associated Press reported. Between 2010 and 2017, death rates among the less aggressive kind of cancer remained stable while Type 2 increased by 2.7 percent a year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, uterine cancer may cause vaginal discharge or abnormal bleeding, such as after going through menopause and between periods, and other symptoms such as pressure in your pelvis. Bleeding is never normal after your periods stop.
Researchers said that “the factors associated with these trends are not well understood and require more investigation of possible mechanism”. 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”.
They added, “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”.
Earlier this month, the World Trade Center (WTC) Health Program announced it is considering adding uterine cancer to the list of WTC-related health conditions, according to a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. Uterine cancer is currently the only cancer type not covered by the program.
The rulemaking is available for public review and comment for 45 days beginning on May 10, 2022, and ending on June 24, 2022. The deadline for submitting comments is June 24, 2022. Comments may be submitted online.
“We know that WTC Health Program members continue to face health challenges that stem from their exposures on or in the months after 9/11,” said John Howard, MD, administrator of the WTC Health Program and director of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. “The proposed rule published today in the Federal Register is the next step toward ensuring women who are enrolled in the WTC Health Program have access to the cancer care and treatment they need if their uterine cancer is related to their 9/11 exposures.”
For more information about cancer, visit the NCI website at cancer.gov or call NCI’s contact center, the Cancer Information Service, at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237).