Among patients receiving treatment for multiple myeloma, socioeconomic differences may explain why young, white patients survive longer in contrast with ethnic minorities, according to a study published in Cancer.1

Luciano Costa, MD, PhD, of the University of Alabama in Birmingham and fellow researchers examined data from more than 10,000 U.S. patients, younger than 65, with multiple myeloma .

It was found that marital status, income, and insurance status were more likely to contribute to a patient’s chances of survival than race and ethnicity.

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A patient who was not married, receiving Medicaid, and lived in a low income county was found to have a 25% lower likelihood 4-year survival after diagnosis, in contrast with a patient of same age who was married, had private insurance, and lived in a medium- to high- income county.

Four-year estimated overall survival was 71.1% for patients with no adverse sociodemographic factors, 63.2% for those with 1, 53.4% for those with 2, and 46.5% for those with 3.

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“This finding strongly suggests that there is a huge disparity in outcomes that could potentially be overcome by improving access and affordability of treatments,” Dr Costa said.


  1. Socioeconomic factors — not race or ethnicity — influence survival of younger patients with multiple myeloma. EurekAlert. Updated August 22, 2016. Accessed August 22, 2016.