Reproductive Cancer and its Impact on African American Women

Gynecologic Cancer poses a serious health threat for all women. However, for African American women in particular, disproportionate numbers are still shouldering a heavier burden of premature mortality as evidenced by the following surveillance data:

  • Although cervical cancer incidence is the highest among Latina women, African American women have lower 5-year survival rates and die from the disease more than any other race (Black Women’s Health Imperative, formerly the National Black Women’s Health Project).
  • African American women observe a lower incidence rate of endometrial cancer as compared to Caucasian women, but die from the disease at almost twice the rate as Caucasian women (Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) Program and the National Center for Health Statistics).
  • Ovarian cancer is recognized as the most lethal type of reproductive cancer, claiming more than 15,000 lives annually. Although African American women are diagnosed less frequently than their Caucasian counterparts, 5-year survival rates are much lower. To date, very little research has been conducted on ovarian cancer in African American women. Mysteries still confound the medical community, patients, survivors and the larger community (UIC Institute for Health Research and Policy).

These realities underscore the importance of wide scale public awareness campaigns targeting the African American community with important messages about steps that can and must be taken to reverse these disparities in order to promote prevention, early detection and optimal treatment.

The Foundation for Women’s Cancer wants all women to LEARN the symptoms, LISTEN to their bodies, and ACT by seeking care from a gynecologic oncologist for the best outcomes, if they suspect or have been diagnosed with a reproductive cancer.

Learn more about the LEARN-LISTEN-ACT campaign and how it pertains to your specific type of gynecologic cancer.


Visit the Sisterhood of Survivorship page to read “Dena’s Story” — by a vulvar cancer survivor who has shared her story and wise words, and channeled her energy into her National Race to End Women’s Cancer team.


Vaccine efficacy against vulvar infection with HPV 16/18 was comparable to the efficacy found against cervical infection 4 years after vaccination, according to researchers with the National Cancer Institute.


The Foundation has published its 2014-2015 Research Grants and Awards Booklet with Applications. Please consider applying to become part of an elite group of physician-scientists committed to the well-being of women at risk for/affected by gyn malignancies.


The next Ovarian Cancer Survivors Course will be Saturday, July 26, 2014 in Boston. For more information on courses, click here.