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Breaking News – Uterine Cancer is on the Rise

by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | December 9th, 2018

Breaking News – Uterine Cancer is on the Rise

On December 7, 2018, the CDC released their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. This week’s report was on Uterine Cancer.  Although the rate of many cancers are decreasing, uterine cancer is on the rise – Black women are disproportionately affected.

The rate of the uterine cancer is on the rise for black women, Hispanic women, Asians/Pacific Islanders and Native American. However, even among these groups of women, the rate was higher in black women.  The report states that the uterine cancer death rate were higher in 2016 than in 1999 and that black women were approximately twice as likely to die from uterine cancer as women in other racial/ethnic groups.

If uterine cancer is found early, your chances of surviving is very high. We do not have a screening test for uterine cancer like we do for cervical cancer (pap smear), breast cancer (mammogram), colorectal cancer (colonoscopy).  We have to rely on symptoms. An early symptom of uterine cancer is abnormal vaginal bleeding.

What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Unexpected bleeding after menopause (any bleeding after menopause, no matter how small)

If you have any concerns about your bleeding pattern, talk with your health care provider.  Do not take the attitude that it may go away, if I just wait awhile. The earlier you see a physician, the better.

What can help you reduce the risk of uterine cancer?

Maintaining a healthy weight and getting enough physical exercise.

 

Bottom line: If you are a woman with a uterus regardless of your race, you are at risk for uterine cancer. When you have abnormal vaginal bleeding, do not ignore it. See your health care provider. If you are not satisfied with the work up from your provider, get a second opinion.

 

To find out what test might be ordered for your abnormal bleeding, check out the previous blog:  Gynecology 110: What does PALM-COEIN have to do with my period?

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The book discusses common gynecological and women’s health issues in a series of witty and entertaining letters. These letters, all educational, offer suggestions on what approaches to take in tackling the medical problems that typically bring women to an ob/gynecologist. The letters are spiced with art, a poem and quotes. Although its emphasis is on gynecology and women’s health, it touches on some other medical issues that make women visit their doctors.

The second half of the book briefly discusses the most common gynecological conditions and also provides an overview of sexually transmitted infections. A list of annotated websites dealing with the different topics in the book is provided for the reader who wants to pursue each subject in depth.




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