Recent studies have shown that ethnic and racial disparities influence mortality rates for children who have acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common pediatric malignancy, and acute lymphoblastic lymphoma (ALLy).
In a paper published online on April 16 in Cancer Medicine, Meghan Davitt, M.D., H. Dean Hosgood, Ph.D., and colleagues analyzed 274 Montefiore pediatric patients diagnosed with those malignancies between 2004 and 2017. Hispanic patients were 78% less likely to die compared with non-Hispanic Black patients, who—consistent with previous studies—had the worst overall outcomes.
Among Hispanic patients, those who were Spanish-speaking were nearly three times more likely to die compared with Hispanic patients who spoke English, indicating that Spanish speakers face a unique disadvantage when treated for ALL/ALLy. The researchers concluded that communication barriers may hamper Spanish-speaking Hispanics’ understanding of issues that could greatly influence survival, such as post-diagnosis medication recommendations and treatment schedules for oral chemotherapy.
Dr. Davitt is a pediatric hematology/oncology fellow at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore. Dr. Hosgood is associate professor of epidemiology & population health and the Atran Foundation Chair in Epidemiology & Population Health at Einstein and co-leader of the cancer epidemiology, prevention, and control program at Montefiore Einstein Cancer Center.
Posted on: Monday, April 17, 2023