[ Englisch] Does Race Impact Myeloma Care? An Expert Explains Study From ASCO

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Topics include: Living With Multiple Myeloma

How do racial, ethnic and social factors impact health outcomes for multiple myeloma patients? At the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting, noted expert Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi, from the Mayo Clinic, provided an overview of research on disparities in myeloma data and ways they can influence disease evolution and access to timely myeloma care. Dr. Ailawadhi also shared how “the same diagnosis in different patients can behave differently” and why it’s important to focus on each patient as an individual to improve clinical practice. 

Click here for the abstract on racial disparities in multiple myeloma care.

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Transcript

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

So our population demographic in the US is changing very rapidly.  We are no longer just a clear demarcation of saying whites versus whites. Now we have whites, black, Hispanics, Asians, multiple other subtypes within each group, and quite frankly a lot of admixture, a lot of over and above that.  

There is a lot of data in multiple myeloma literature showing that unfortunately not patients with all races and ethnicities are getting the same benefit of treatments.  In fact, even the outcomes are different.  The survival is different.  So that gives us the opportunity to try and look at why are these differences?  Are there issues with how we provide care?  Are there cultural, social barriers?  Economic, education, income, etcetera, insurance?  

So in that particular session we tried to bring together all the data that can exists about this topic so far and to, first of all, try and understand what are the differences, how could the disease be different.  We know that in African-Americans they will present with less fractures from myeloma, but they will present with more kidney dysfunction.  So if as a physician I know about that, I'm a little bit attuned to that, I can address those needs better.  We know that African-Americans will have generally not as high risk of a disease as whites.  

And then the biggest kind of elephant in the room is whether access to care is similar or not.  Now, there are many, many studies that are showing that access to care is unfortunately not similar.  Patients in rural America, patients belonging to racial ethnic minorities don't get the appropriate treatment in a timely fashion. We shared data that Hispanics, for example, it takes the longest time to get the Hispanics to one of the cornerstone drugs for myeloma care, a median of 102 days, when the idea is that earlier treatment is better.  Transplant is used much lesser in African-Americans and Hispanics, and unfortunately it seems that in the recent past those numbers are not even increasing.  

Now, that could of course again depend on sociocultural economic barriers, but the bottom line is that there is a difference, and that's not good.  And if that difference actually is affecting the patient outcomes, then it becomes an obligation for us as a society, as healthcare providers, as a community, as politics, as a country, to try and overcome those disparities so at least we can give the basic minimum appropriate care to every single patient.  

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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Page last updated on August 20, 2019