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Failing to diagnose uterine cancer can be fatal

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while there is an overall trend that cancer diagnoses are decreasing, the same cannot be said for uterine cancer. Those with the highest risk appear to be African-American women.

The CDC concluded that one factor that causes this uptick is the high rate of obesity for women here in the United States. An overreliance on processed foods in the diet has caused diabetes and obesity rates to soar.

The CDC ranks uterine cancer as fourth on the list of the most common cancers. It also comes in seventh as the most common cause of death from among women here in the U.S. In 2015 alone, there were more than 53,000 new diagnoses of uterine cancer.

Scientists discovered that there was a .7 percent uptick in the rate of new uterine cancer diagnoses from 1999 to 2015. The death rates also shot up more than 1 percent a year from 1999 to 2016. New diagnoses of this deadly cancer were higher among black and white women than their other ethnic and racial counterparts. However, fatalities among African-American women were twice as high.

The director of a cancer center in another state who is also an oncologist was unsurprised by this news. He stated there was "no doubt that the incidence and mortality of uterine cancer, specifically endometrial cancer, is higher in African-American women." He was unclear as to why, citing various factors like genetics and access to health care. "The reason why is not entirely understood. One reason could be genetics. Another is access to health care."

What can women of color here in San Diego do to decrease their risks? Losing weight is helpful, as obesity triggers higher estrogen levels, which is linked to ovarian cancer.

But it is also prudent for all women to make sure that they are timely diagnosed by their doctors when the cancer may still be treatable. If you think something is wrong even though your doctor seems dismissive, insist on further diagnostic testing that can detect or rule out cancer. Failing to diagnose cancer at an early stage could potentially open a medical professional up to charges of malpractice.

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