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Black Women Less Likely to Survive Uterine Cancer

Molecular differences in tumors could be the reason

Uterine cancer rates are rising in this country, particularly among black and Asian women, according to findings from a study that also found black women are more likely to die of the disease. Uterine cancer usually occurs after menopause.

Researchers analyzed more than 120,000 cases of uterine cancer diagnosed between 2000 and 2011, and found that during the study period, rates rose among all racial and ethnic groups. But rates increased fastest, at 2.5 percent a year, among black and Asian women.

Black women also had higher rates of aggressive uterine cancer than other women, and death rates for aggressive uterine cancer were more than 1.5 times higher among black women than among white women. A five-year analysis found black women had poorer survival rates than white women at every stage of diagnosis.

The data suggest differences in patients’ outcomes persist even when the type of tumor and its stage at diagnosis are accounted for, lead author Michele Cote, associate professor of oncology at the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute and Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, said in a news release.

“It was somewhat surprising that the uterine cancer survival disparity we identified was limited to non-Hispanic black women, because many of the challenges previously linked to worse outcomes, including low socioeconomic status and high rates of obesity and diabetes, are also experienced by Hispanic women, but that population did not have poor outcomes,” Cote said.

Researchers are interested in investigating whether molecular differences in tumors from women of different races or ethnicities diagnosed at the same stage of disease is the cause of these disparities.

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