Last Monday the world lost another great sista’ to a reproductive health illness. Gwen Ifel, the award-winning journalist, died at the age of 61 from endometrial cancer – a subset of uterine cancers. Uterine cancer is on the rise, and Black women are especially vulnerable. The key to survival is knowing the symptoms and getting treatment.
Gynecological cancers don’t get a lot of medical attention (a big problem); but, endometrial cancer is the most common kind of pelvic cancer in women. It has a very high survival rate, if treated early. (Unlike cervical and ovarian cancers which have lower survival rates.) A 2015 study shows that endometrial cancer is becoming more common in the U.S., and Black women appear more prone to the most aggressive types of tumors. Black women die from the disease more frequently than White women. The study shows we are 1.9 times to 2.5 times more likely to get these malignancies than White women.
Postmenopausal women are more likely to get endometrial cancer. This may be due to the change in hormones when menstruation stops. Also, women who are obese are twice as likely to get endometrial cancer. A key symptom is abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as bleeding between periods or after menopause. Pelvic pain and pain during sex are other symptoms. Then, there are some women who show no symptoms making being aware of a problem difficult.
There is only one FDA-approved drug for endometrial cancer. Gwen’s death shows there is a need for more gynecological cancer research.
Gwen died young. But, we can honor her legacy by taking care of ourselves, eating the best we can, and finding a gynecologist we trust to work with to maintain our health.
Keep it healthy!
Keep it sexy!