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?
Protein-rich foods are broken down into amino acids, the building material for every cell in your body. You require an average of 46 to 56 grams of protein every day to help sustain healthy bone marrow and other tissues. Good sources include meat, poultry, fish, dairy foods, legumes and vegetables. Research published in 2002 in the “American Journal of Nutrition” notes that patients who undergo bone marrow transplant have enhanced protein and energy needs. The study recommends that patients get a daily amount of 1.4 to 1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight to help renew and repair the bone marrow.
Also, a key function of bone marrow is to produce red blood cells — the iron-containing cells that carry oxygen to every part of your body. You must get iron from your daily diet — approximately 10 to 20 milligrams every day. If you are pregnant, you will need 27 milligrams of this mineral daily. The University of Utah notes that your body only absorbs about 10 percent of this dietary iron, most of which is used by your bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Animal sources such as liver and organ meats, poultry, fish and shellfish contain heme iron, which is more easily absorbed by your body. Plant foods such as whole grains, green leafy vegetables, nuts and seeds give you less readily absorbed nonheme iron.
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