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Endometrial Cancer Risks Vary Among African-Descent Populations

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Compared with white women, Black women have elevated risks of being diagnosed with advanced uterine cancer—also known as endometrial cancer—and of developing aggressive tumors. Researchers recently compared the incidence and trends for endometrial cancer, both overall and by subtype, between African descent women in Florida and women in the French Caribbean—specifically, the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. The findings are published by Wiley online in CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.

Endometrial cancer is classified as endometrioid or non-endometrioid (a more aggressive form) based on tumor cells’ appearance and genetic alterations. When Heidy N. Medina, PhD, MPH, of the University of Miami School of Medicine, and her colleagues analyzed data on 34,789 endometrial cancer cases from Florida (US) and the French Caribbean from 2005–2018, they observed the following: 

  • Caribbean Black women had the lowest rates for both endometrioid and non-endometrioid subtypes.  

  • Non-endometrioid types were most common among US Black women (9.2 per 100,000), 2.6-times greater than the rate for US white women.  

  • For endometrioid cancer, rates increased 1.8% yearly from 2005–2018 for US Black women and 1.2% for US white women, while no change was observed for Caribbean Black women.  

  • For the more aggressive non-endometrioid cancers, rates increased among all women: 5.6% yearly among US Black women, 4.4% among Caribbean Black women, and 3.9% among US white women. 

“This study informs the current scientific evidence about endometrial cancer risk among a diverse sample of African descent women, highlighting that within group differences matter among Black women,” said Dr. Medina. “Our study suggests that these differences among Black women in different regions of the world are partly due to social factors associated with assigned race rather than purely African ancestry–related factors based on genetic origin.”

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Dr. Medina added that the study emphasizes the need to not generalize results from Black women in the US to other African descent populations worldwide where limited data exist. “This signals the need for coordinated efforts around the world in identifying disparities, emphasizing the importance of strong cancer surveillance systems and registries throughout different regions, and the necessity for there to be a greater priority among the global health community in allocating resources to improve data collection for cancer registries worldwide,” she said.

Dr. Medina also stressed the importance of tracking the increasing rates of the deadlier non-endometrioid types of endometrial cancer and identifying risk factors associated with these malignancies. 

Reference: Medina HN, Penedo FJ, Joachim C, et al. Endometrial cancer risk and trends among distinct African descent populations. Cancer. 2023. doi: 10.1002/cncr.34789

This article has been republished from the following materials. Note: material may have been edited for length and content. For further information, please contact the cited source.