Socioeconomic Status Play A Major Role In Multiple Myeloma Survival

First Posted: Aug 25, 2016 04:14 AM EDT

Health experts have identified some key factors for patients to survive different kinds of cancer. In a new U.S. study, experts have pointed out that income and educational background could be identified as factors to consider patients' survival against bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma.

There have been a lot of researches in the past shows that people of color has the worse chance of beating cancer. However, the current study concludes that this particular inequality may have been caused by several major issues like the type of insurance and access to care. "Race or ethnicity is mostly a marker for social factors such as poverty, insurance status, education level, etc. which is why we see that ethnic minority individuals experience worse health and health outcomes," said Roshan Bastani, director of cancer disparities research at the University of California, Los Angeles Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, in email to Reuters Health.

Bastani, who wasn't involved in the study, also said that neither the race nor ethnicity can influence one's survival. He explained that it is the effect of race or ethnicity on survival is mostly seen in the negative social factors that are most common among racial and ethnic minority groups.

According to Fox News, multiple myeloma is a rare cancer in the United States. The American Cancer Society said that the lifetime risk of acquiring this type of cancer is 1 in 143 people, and the disease causes lower than 13,000 deaths a year. It was also said that less than 1 percent of cases are diagnosed in people below 35 years old. New treatment for these tumors that form in a type of white blood cell have improved survival chances for white patients compared to black patients, researchers of the current study noted in the journal Cancer.

Meanwhile, Dr. Luciano Costa, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and colleagues studied cancer registry data on over 10,000 US patients that were diagnosed with multiple myeloma before they reached age 65. Researchers said that during the time of their diagnosis, half of the patients were aged 57 years old, about two-thirds were married, and most had health insurance, reported.

The study found that factors that affected the survival chances of patients' included marital status, income, and insurance status. The study also found that about 71 percent survived for at least 4 years because they were socioeconomically stable. "This finding strongly suggests that there is a huge disparity in outcomes that could potentially be overcome by improving access and affordability of treatments," Costa said.

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