Gwen Ifill tragically died at the age of 61 on Nov. 14 from endometrial cancer, and the Peabody Award-winning journalist will certainly be missed. Here’s everything you need to know about the disease that claimed Gwen’s life.
Gwen Ifill passed away from endometrial cancer at a Washington, D.C. hospice facility, according to various reports. Here are five things to know about Gwen’s disease.
1. Endometrial cancer starts in the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).
The cancer begins when cells grow at an abnormal rate, and can spread to other parts of one’s body. It typically occurs after menopause, and symptoms can include pain when urinating or having sexual intercourse. Of course, men cannot get it.
2. It’s the third most common cause of death in cancers that only affect women.
Approximately 320,000 women had endometrial cancer in 2012, and 76,000 women died from it. It’s the third biggest killer after ovarian and cervical cancer, and the rate has actually risen between the 1980s and 2010 due to the increasing obesity rate — about 40% of cases are related to obesity. Diabetes mellitus, breast cancer, high levels of estrogen, and increasing age are also risk factors, and it is the sixth most common cancer in women.
3. Surgery is the main way to treat it.
90% of women have some form of surgery, which can consist of a hysterectomy or lymphadenectomy, depending on the subtype. Radiation therapy or chemotherapy can follow surgery in high-risk cases.
4. The five-year survival rate is approximately 80%.
Over 70% of cases have FIGO stage 1 cancer, which has the best survival rate. However, the older you are, the worse prognosis you have. Additionally, in America, black women have a lower survival rate because they tend to not be diagnosed until their disease has reached an aggressive form.
5. Most people haven’t heard of endometrial cancer.
Despite how frequently it occurs, most of society is not aware of it. Since the symptoms are not widely known, this leads to delayed diagnosis and a poorer survival rate.
Fortunately, Gwen was surrounded by loved ones as she died. Our hearts go out to the talented journalist’s friends and family.
HollywoodLifers, please leave your thoughts for Gwen in the comments.