Black women have a 90 percent higher mortality rate from endometrial cancer than all other groups of women with this cancer. It’s four times more common than cervical cancer and twice as common as ovarian cancer, “but if endometrial cancer is caught early, it is almost always curable,” says Kemi Doll, a University of Washington School of Medicine gynecologic oncologist.
There are multiple reasons black women die more often from this cancer, as well as other health problems, according to Doll. “Part of it is that they simply don’t know about this condition, so they might have been bleeding for months or years before being evaluated.” As well, “the quality of our healthcare system really isn’t the same for black women as it is for everyone else, especially when it comes to their reproductive healthcare.”
African-American women also seem more prone to contract more aggressive types of endometrial cancer than other demographic groups. No one knows why this is the case; Doll is researching possible causes.
“I really wanted there to be a visible community of black women who have been diagnosed with this disease to show they can survive and thrive,” says Doll. That’s why she founded the Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African-Americans (ECANA).
- “Spotlighting a common female cancer, and a health disparity” by Barbara Clements on the University of Washington website (2019)
- the Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African-Americans website
- a guide to uterine cancer from the American Society of Clinical Oncology