Global initiative seeks to raise awareness about uterine cancer and promote further research funding, education, and access to care
Atlanta, Ga. – May 23, 2023 – The International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS) in collaboration with over 25 partner organizations from around the world, today announced June as the inaugural Uterine Cancer Awareness Month. The observance is part of a global initiative led by the IGCS to raise awareness about uterine cancer (also called endometrial cancer) and promote the need for further research funding, community education, and equitable access to high-quality care. The IGCS is supported in this initiative by advocacy groups around the world, including the Endometrial Cancer Action Network for African Americans (ECANA), Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered (FORCE), SHARE, and the Uterine Cancer Awareness Network (UCAN), among others.
Uterine cancer is the sixth most common cancer in women worldwide and the most common gynecologic cancer in North America, Europe, and Australia, making up nearly 50% of all gynecologic cancer cases in high-income countries. There were 417,367 new cases and 97,370 reported deaths from uterine cancer in 2020.1 This year in the U.S., it is estimated that there will be 66,200 new cases of uterine cancer and 13,030 deaths. Incidence rates across all races combined continue to increase by almost 2% per year in women younger than 50 and by 1% per year in older women. Mortality rates also continue to rise, with an increase of 0.7% annually from 2016 to 2020. While there are no recommended screening tests for women at average risk, about 69% of cases are diagnosed at an early stage due to abnormal uterine bleeding or postmenopausal bleeding, which are early signs that require further evaluation.2
Uterine cancer has consistently ranked at the bottom of research funding across different cancer types.3 The National Cancer Institute reported spending an estimated $13.6 million on uterine cancer research in 2020, a drop from $18 million in 2019.4 Advancements in treatments have lagged for uterine cancers, especially in patients with recurrent or metastatic disease.5 While the five-year relative survival rate for uterine cancer in the U.S. is 81%, racial disparities have led to lower survival rates.6 Black women, for example, have a 64% five-year relative survival rate compared to White women at 84%, and are more likely to be diagnosed with more aggressive endometrial cancers with lower survival rates.2
The IGCS, alongside its patient advocacy arm the International Gynecologic Cancer Advocacy Network (IGCAN) and Uterine Cancer Awareness Month partners, has set ambitious goals to reduce disparities in uterine cancer care and close gaps in research and treatment. Uterine Cancer Awareness Month activities will aim to educate people across the globe about the risks of uterine cancer (e.g., obesity, diabetes, hypertension, genetics) and signs and symptoms. Through community education and programming, the IGCS and its partner organizations will help provide resources and critical information about uterine cancer to aid in early detection and risk prevention. Additionally, the IGCS will focus its efforts to drive attention and advocate for more research funding and philanthropic efforts to help in the development of new and more effective treatments.
“There is an urgent need to make uterine cancer a global priority. On behalf of the many women who are searching for answers and those yet to be diagnosed, it’s our obligation to address the rising incidence of cases worldwide, as well to search for and implement solutions to address the deep disparities in access to equal care and treatment,” said Mary Eiken, Chief Executive Officer, IGCS. “I’m pleased that IGCAN has the ability to connect organizations in the uterine cancer space and provide more women with the resources, education, and support they need along their cancer journey and help save countless more lives across the globe.”
The patient advocacy community is invited to join the cause by spreading awareness and education throughout the month of June. To learn more about Uterine Cancer Awareness Month or to get involved, please visit www.igcs.org/ucam.