Finance, Race and Demographics May Affect Multiple Myeloma Outcomes

By Kaitlyn Bebbino - Last Updated: April 15, 2022

Despite an improved survival rate in multiple myeloma over the years, the survival gap of multiple myeloma (MM) continues to widen among various socioeconomic groups, according to a news article published in CURE®.

An increase in the overall survival gap in MM patients continues to widen compared to other cancers. Unlike most cancers with an acute treatment phase followed by a cure, MM is a lifelong diagnosis. This results in a substantial financial burden for MM patients, taking a toll on treatment outcomes. In addition, many patients with MM are older and survive on their retirement funds and any financial assistance from family members or the public (GoFundMe). When combined with other unexpected expenses, it can be more difficult for these patients to get the best treatment outcomes.

The article also found race to contribute to the widening socio-economic gap. For example, according to the American Cancer Association (ACS), blacks were twice as likely as whites to develop MM and did not fare well in treatment. This gap is largely due to racial bias and discrimination in the healthcare system in addition to fewer blacks being enrolled in clinical trials.

According to Dr. Karen Winkfield, executive director of Meharry‑Vanderbilt Alliance and the Ingram Professor of Cancer Research at Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, there is a need to overhaul the health care system to ensure that it is equitable for everyone. There is also a need to build trust, especially with the blacks and other minorities, to reduce racial bias and discrimination.


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