Socioeconomic factors affect the survival rates of young patients who develop multiple myeloma– according to a new study published in the journal Cancer.
During recent years, major advances in the treatment of multiple myeloma have been made. This has improved survival. However, most benefits were reaped by young and white patients.
These findings show that there is a major difference of income, between those who survive this type of cancer and those who don’t.
The study revealed that the gap between races happens largely because of socioeconomic differences between whites and ethnic minorities, not the race itself.
Luciano Costa, MD, Ph.D., from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and his team looked at data from over 10,000 American patients who were less than 65 years old and were diagnosed with multiple myeloma.
They discovered that race was not the essential factor associated with a patient’s risk of dying early. Marital status, income, and insurance, all played a more important role in a patient’s survival.
For example, patients who were not married lived in a low-income area and were on Medicaid were 25 percent more likely to die four years after the diagnosis, than patients of a similar age, who were married, lived in a medium to high-income area and had private insurance.
The conclusions are that there is a big income gap which could be overcome by better access to treatment and more affordable options for those who need them, Dr. Costa said.
“Cancer” is a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. It holds valuable scientific information from global sources, for all specialties involved in oncology. The objective of the journal Cancer is to provide a place to exchange ideas for those interested in the course and treatment of human cancer.
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the plasma cells. These cells normally produce antibodies, to fight diseases. This type of cancer often has no symptoms. When it gets to an advanced stage, it triggers frequent infections, anemia, bleeding or bone pain.
There is no known cause of this disease, but too much alcohol and being overweight are amongst the factors that can lead to multiple myeloma.
Image Source – Wikipedia