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Uterine (endometrial) cancer deaths have been increasing in the United States, particularly among Black women. New research appears to pinpoint a cause. A rare but aggressive type of cancer known as Type 2 endometrial cancer is more difficult to treat and was responsible for 20% of cases and 45% of deaths identified in a new study.

Deaths from this type of cancer increased by 2.7% per year during the eight years the study focused on, while deaths from a less aggressive uterine cancer remained stable. The increases were more profound for women from certain racial and ethnic minority groups.

For Black women, the study found they had more than twice the rate of deaths from uterine cancer overall, and of the more aggressive cancer, compared to other racial and ethnic groups.

There is no clear risk factor for the more aggressive cancer, said Megan Clarke, who led the study for the National Cancer Institute. “We think it is something that is more common in Black women and increasing in the population for all women,” she said. “It’s very puzzling and concerning.”

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