African Americans are less likely than whites to receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants (HCT) — an expensive procedure that can greatly increase survival for cancers of the blood, a new study found.
Overall, Caucasians were 40% more likely to undergo HCT to treat leukemia, lymphoma, or multiple myeloma than African Americans (OR 1.40; 95% 95% CI 1.34 to 1.46), according to the report published online May 24, 2010 in the journal Cancer.
Bone marrow transplants are often the only treatment for blood-related cancers. The treatment, however, is dependent on the patient finding a donor who shares a similar genetic makeup. In most cases, that means the match is found in someone of the same race. But the black community has a particularly tough time attracting donors.
What can be done?
Did you know that donating bone marrow can be painless and as easy as donating blood? Did you know that registering to be a donor only requires a swab of your mouth?
Every day, thousands of patients with leukemia and other life-threatening diseases hope for a marrow donor who can make their transplant possible. 70% of patients do not have a donor in their family. They depend on donor match registry and they depend on people like you.
Patients are more likely to find donor matches within their own racial or ethnic background. For African Americans specifically, we have more genetic diversity than any other race. However, the number of black donors on the national registry is still low. Registration is free, easy and painless.
Reviewed by: Dr. Melvin Gaskins