AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — A recent study in JAMA Oncology shows uterine cancer rates are increasing, and highlights disparities among minority women.

The study focused on nearly a third of the US population from 2000 to 2017, and found rates of aggressive, non-endometrioid subtypes correlated with obesity, are disproportionately higher among non-Hispanic black women.

“So we’re starting to be able to identify where these disparities are,” said David Vineyard, M.D., Associate Professor of OB/GYN, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. “People are individual, and, and their health issues differ both from their individuality, their genetics, and also the environment in which they live. All of these things play a huge impact on the health of that individual.”

The study also found black women with uterine cancer die at twice the rate of white women, representing one of the largest gaps in cancer disparities.

But why?

Dr. Vineyard explained that it’s a simple question, with a very complicated answer.

“Is it some genetic thing? Is it an economic issue? Is it? Is it a question of insurance coverage versus no insurance coverage? Is it a function of transportation of job schedules? There’s so many factors that play into this,” he said.

Researchers also found Black and Hispanic women were less likely to undergo treatments such as hysterectomies or biopsies than white women.

Dr. Vineyard told us all of those factors and questions have yet to be answered, but for now, risk reduction and knowledge is key.

“A woman can reduce her risk of uterine cancer by making sure she maintains a healthy weight, because obesity is a dramatic magnifier for the risk of uterine cancer,” he continued. “Bleeding after menopause, you should treat as a red flag. Go get checked out.”

Dr. Vineyard also added that lack of health insurance shouldn’t deter anyone from seeking diagnosis and treatment.

He said while it may be a little more challenging, clinics like the J.O. Wyatt Clinic and Women’s and Children’s Clinic can assist people with no health coverage.