Thanks to modern medicine, most types of cancer are on the decline today. However, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report shows that uterine cancer didn't get the memo.
"Uterine cancer is one of the few cancers with increasing incidence and mortality in the United States," the report said.
The cancer claimed over 10,700 lives in 2016, according to the CDC's report. Over 50,000 new cases were confirmed the previous year. According to the CDC, uterine cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer among women. It's a top contender for cancer deaths in women as well.
What's more, the new report found something particularly interesting about uterine cancer and minorities. First, mortality rates jumped the highest in black women compared to other ethnic groups. Specifically, the cancer's rates are 4 to 5 deaths per 100,000 women for non-Hispanic whites, Hispanics and several other groups.
However, black women are seeing 9 deaths per 100,000. That's a nearly doubled number. So why the stark difference?
"Black women were more likely to receive a diagnosis at a distant stage and with more aggressive histologic types than were other women," according to the CDC.
Researchers think their late diagnoses "might in part account for the higher death rate among black women."
Second, several minorities have shown the highest increases in uterine cancer when compared to non-Hispanic white women. Those include Hispanic and Asian groups, alongside the black population.
But other groups aren't off the hook here either. Uterine cancer is more common among all women in the report than it was before.
Between 1999 to 2015, the overall occurrence of uterine cancer rose by 12 percent. That rate is the highest in black and white populations: 27 cases per 100,000 women. For other groups, the incidence is only 23 out of 100,000.
What's worse, death rates have increased even more. Across the board, deaths from uterine cancer have risen by 21 percent.
Experts believe these numbers are "reflecting, in part, increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity since the 1980s."
Researchers don't understand all the reasons behind the association, says the National Cancer Institute. However, studies continue to show a strong relationship between obesity and cancer.
NCI states that almost 70 percent of US adults age 20 and over are overweight. In addition, overweight women are 2-4 times more likely to develop endometrial cancer.
Endometrial cancer is the most common of all uterine cancers, according to the CDC.
The idea is that if obesity is on the rise, uterine cancer should follow suit. This report is suggesting just that. Uterine cancer doesn't undergo preventative screening tests, unlike cervical, breast or lung cancer.
For now, the CDC recommends that doctors and health professionals promote a healthy lifestyle and exercise among women. In addition, women should stay informed about the early warning signs of uterine cancer.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding is one of the most common, reported as so by 90 percent of women with the disease. Abnormal bleeding includes bleeding in between periods, after sex or after menopause. Should any of these occur, women need to seek their doctor's advice immediately.
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