This Cancer Affects Twice As Many African Americans – So Why Don’t We Hear More About It?

Blood cancer medical diagnosis concept as an eye dropper with blood infected with malignant cell as a conceptual symbol for leukemia symptoms or disease of the blood as a 3D illustration.

According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans have the highest incidence, death rate and shortest survival time of any racial group in the U.S. for most cancers. The causes of these inequalities are complex and may include barriers to high-quality cancer prevention, early detection and treatment services.1

Multiple myeloma is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths among African Americans. Multiple myeloma is the third most common blood cancer, but it disproportionately affects the African American community. In fact, African Americans are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with and die from multiple myeloma compared to Caucasian Americans.

Dr. Craig Cole, a cancer specialist from the University of Michigan Health Systems, recently spoke with BlackDoctor.org about the facts all African Americans need to know.  He is joined by Cheryl Boyce, former Executive Director of the Ohio Commission on Minority Health and a MM patient.

Multiple myeloma is the 14th most common cancer in the U.S., making up about 1.4 percent of new cancer cases, and 1.9 percent of cancer deaths. In a group of 100,000 African‑Americans, researchers predicted 14.8 men and 10.5 women would be diagnosed with multiple myeloma. In contrast, in a group of 100,000 whites, about 7.2 men and 4.3 women would be diagnosed.

Many African‑Americans may not be aware that they are at increased risk for multiple myeloma. A pilot study in the June 2012 Journal of Cancer Education by researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., in collaboration with neighboring African‑American churches, found that 67 percent of the 236 people surveyed had never received information about multiple myeloma.