In its weekly report, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that the increase is in large part to a greater number of Americans suffering from obesity.
“There are many risk factors for developing uterine cancer,” Dr. Joseph Davis, an OB-GYN and medical director of the Cayman Fertility Center, told NBC News.
People with increased estrogen levels are at a higher risk to develop uterine cancer, per the report, “but there are also social factors that contribute to this increase, like diabetes and obesity that have become more and more common with the introduction of processed foods in our diet,” said Davis.
Researchers say the rate of new cases of the cancer increase 0.7 percent from 1999 to 2015 and death rates increased 1. 1 percent per year from 1999 to 2016. Death rates were twice as high for Black women than for White women.
According to the CDC, uterine cancer is the fourth most common cancer and seventh deadliest for women in the U.S.
“There’s no doubt that the incidence and mortality of uterine cancer, specifically endometrial cancer, is higher in African-American women,” said oncologist and director of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center of Alabama at Birmingham Dr. Michael Birrer.
“The reason why is not entirely understood. One reason could be genetics. Another is access to health care. Black patient populations that are poor or from rural communities may not have equal access to care. When the tumors are finally identified, the disease may have already spread,” he added.
The CDC said that women should be more physically active and maintain a healthy weight to reduce the risk of uterine cancer.