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Uterine Cancer Death Rates Rising, Highest Among Black Women in the United States

, by Justine E. Yu, Ph.D.

A black woman patient reviews results with a doctor.
Credit: iStock

Death rates from uterine cancer are rising in the United States, and are highest among non-Hispanic Black women, according to a new study published in JAMA Oncology, on May 5, 2022.

Unlike most cancers, incidence rates of uterine cancer rose rapidly among women from 2000 to 2015, with the greatest increases observed for aggressive subtypes, according to a 2019 study led by Megan Clarke, Ph.D., M.H.S., Earl Stadtman tenure-track investigator in the Clinical Epidemiology Unit.

In this new study, analyzing data from SEER18, Dr. Clarke and colleagues found death rates among all women from uterine cancer increased at a rate of 1.8 percent per year from 2010 to 2017. Deaths from the aggressive non-endometrioid subtypes rose by 2.7 percent per year, whereas the less aggressive endometrioid cancer mortality rates were stable during this period. The investigators also reveal profound inequities by race: Black women were twice as likely to die of uterine cancer overall and of non-endometrioid subtypes, compared to other racial and ethnic groups; Hispanic women had the fastest increase in mortality rates from aggressive subtypes (6.7 percent), followed by Black (3.5 percent), Asian (3.4 percent), and White (1.5 percent) women.

“The underlying causes for these dramatic increases in uterine cancer incidence and mortality rates are not clear,” said Dr. Clarke. “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.”

These findings underscore the critical importance of identifying women at highest risk, improving early detection, establishing more effective treatment, and determining the factors that drive these inequities.
 

Reference

Clarke M et al, Racial and Ethnic Differences in Hysterectomy-Corrected Uterine Corpus Cancer Mortality by Stage and Histologic Subtype. JAMA Oncology, 2022.

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