As we wrap up another Gynecologic Cancer Awareness month, we wanted to share some recent news we think matters for our community.
Late Stage Cervical Cancer Is On The Rise
- Analyzing data from 2001-2018, researchers found an 1.3 percent increase in Stage 4 cervical cancer diagnosis. The greatest increase, at 4.5 percent, was found among white patients in the south, ages 40-44.
- Black patients have an overall higher rate of late stage diagnosis, at 1.55 per 100,000, versus 0.92 per 100,000 in white patients.
Research Details Researchers at the University of California Los Angeles found an increase in Stage 4 cervical cancer over an almost 20-year period. Researchers believe the increase can be at least partially attributed to skipped screening exams, such as the Pap smear and HPV test.
Why It’s Important The five year survival rate for those diagnosed with Stage 4 cervical cancer is 17 percent. Conversely, the cervical cancer detected early has a five year survival rate of over 90 percent. Unlike the other four gynecologic cancers, there is an excellent screening test in the Pap smear, and an excellent preventative measure in the HPV vaccine.
Read more International Journal of Gynecological Cancer
A Non-Invasive Way to Detect Ovarian Cancer
- A new type of technology can capture stray ovarian cancer cells from a simple blood test and successfully predict cancer in people who have a lesion or cyst in the pelvic region.
- This new detection method alerted physicians to which patients needed to see a gynecologic oncologist for prompt treatment.
Research Details Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center analyzed gene expression from captured cells in blood and evaluated 72 different gene transcripts and seven blood biomarkers related to ovarian cancer (including CA125). From this collection, the study identified nine gene transcripts and four biomarkers that were useful for detecting cancers. The algorithm achieved a sensitivity of 95 percent and an accuracy of 83 percent for detecting ovarian cancer.
Why It’s Important There is no routine screening test available and ovarian cancer is often not found until later stages, making treatment difficult. A non-invasive test that predicts malignancy beforehand would enable people with the highest risk for ovarian cancer to have surgery done by an oncology specialist.
Read more Obstetrics & Gynecology
Uterine (Endometrial) Cancer Deaths Increasing
- A rare but aggressive type of uterine cancer appears to be driving an increase in U.S. deaths, particularly among Black patients.
- Over eight years, deaths from this more aggressive kind of cancer - called type 2 endometrial cancer — rose by 2.7 percent annually.
Research Details The findings in the study suggest a significant increase of nonendometrioid uterine carcinoma mortality rates. The increase in this trend is not well understood and is disproportionately impacting Black patients.
Why It’s Important An estimated 65,950 new cases of uterine cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year and 12,550 women are expected to die from it. Irregular bleeding can be a warning sign, but there is no recommended screening test. Additionally, uterine cancer rates are increasing so quickly it is expected to replace colorectal cancer by 2040 as the third most common cancer among women, and fourth-leading cause of women’s cancer death.
Read more Jama Oncology