Equal Access to Cancer Care Helps Close Racial Survival Gap

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According to a study out of St. Jude Children's Hospital's Department of Oncology and published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, equal access to good cancer care for blacks and whites translates into equal survival rates and long-term cancer survivors.

Traditionally, African-Americans of all ages have been on the wrong end of disparities in cancer survivorship, being less likely than their white counterparts to beat cancer and become cancer survivors.

However, the work being done at St. Jude's, where children are treated regardless of their ability to pay for the treatment, researchers have seen a closing of the survival gap between the races. In a 15 year period beginning in 1992 and ending in 2007 at all treatment centers, patient outcomes were improved in African Americans in particular in those with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and Hodgkin lymphoma, but the gap worsened for patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and neuroblastoma.

However, at St. Jude's, survival gains were the same for virtually all cancers examined in this study (19), demonstrating that when given access to equal care, race is not a barrier to cancer outcomes.

According to Dr. William E. Evans, St. Jude CEO and co-author of the study, "These findings flow directly from Danny Thomas' strong view that to conquer childhood cancer, treatment must be equally available across all racial and ethnic groups, which has been the case at St. Jude since he opened the doors in 1962."

Source: Medical News Today

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