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.


The CDC recently announced that fewer than half of American children are given the HPV vaccination.


As of the July 23 deadline, 55 research abstracts were submitted in hopes of receiving one of only 6 grants from the Foundation. This points to a need for more funding so that the Foundation may award grants to every deserving applicant.


The Gynecologic Cancer Global Health Forum will be Saturday, Sept. 6, 2014 in D.C.. For more information on educational events and courses, click here.