Disparities in Blood Cancers

Leukemia and Lymphoma
Even though Black people are less likely to develop leukemia, they are more likely to have treatment complications and lower survival rates across all racial and ethnic groups. Disparities in treatment access and utilization play a role in these poorer outcomes for Black patients with leukemia. Hispanic and Black patients are less likely to receive treatment for leukemia.

For most subtypes of lymphoma, Black patients are diagnosed at younger ages and at a more advanced stage.

Multiple Myeloma
Black people are at twice the risk and twice as likely to die from multiple myeloma as white people. They are also more likely to be diagnosed at a younger age compared with white patients–by 5 to 10 years. Even though treatment results for patients with multiple myeloma have improved, not all myeloma patients benefit equally from these advances. Barriers to appropriate treatment and lack of awareness of the disease contribute to disparities in treatment.

What Are Blood Cancers?

Leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma are considered blood cancers. Blood cancers occur when abnormal blood cells grow out of control, interfering with the function of normal blood cells, which fight off infection and produce new blood cells.

Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, and there are four types:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)

You can’t prevent leukemia, but getting an early diagnosis can lead to quicker treatment and improve your odds of survival.

Lymphoma is a group of blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system which is a part of the body’s immune system. There are 2 types of lymphoma: Hodgkin Lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is indicated by the presence of Reed-Sternberg cells which are large cancerous cells found in Hodgkin lymphoma tissues. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a diverse group of diseases distinguished by characteristics of cancer cells associated with each disease type.

Myeloma is a cancer of plasma cells. There are 3 types of myeloma: plasmacytomas, multiple myeloma and asymptomatic myeloma. Myeloma can damage a person’s white plasma cells–which are the cells that fight infection and disease, and it can permanently weaken bones and damage organs.

Blood Cancer Facts and Statistics

Leukemia accounts for 3% of all cancer cases. In 2023, there will be an estimated 59,610 new cases of leukemia.

An estimated 437,337 people are currently living with or in remission from leukemia.

Approximately 23,710 deaths in the U.S. are expected to be attributed to leukemia in 2023.

Leukemia is the most common cancer diagnosed in children and adolescents younger than 20 and accounts for 25.1 % of all cancer cases in this age group. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in children and adolescents with 22.7% of all cancer-related deaths. Although leukemia is the most common cancer among children, it is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74 (25.2%).

There will be an estimated 89,380 new cases of lymphoma in 2023 with 8,830 new cases of Hodgkin Lymphoma and 80,550 new cases of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

An estimated 879,242 people will be living with or in remission with lymphoma.

An estimated 21,080 people in the U.S. are expected to die from lymphoma.

In 2022, an estimated 35,730 new cases of myeloma are expected to be diagnosed in the US..

An estimated 157,561 people in the U.S. will be living with or in remission from myeloma.

Approximately 12,590 deaths from myeloma are expected in 2023.

For more information, visit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Treatment Options

There are various treatment options available for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Your treatment plan may vary due to various factors, such as cancer type, stage of cancer, symptoms, overall health, white cell count, disease progression and cancer cell location.

Treatment options include may include:

- Chemotherapy
- Radiation therapy
- Drug therapies
- Biosimilars
- Watch and wait approach
- Immunotherapy
- Vaccine therapy
- Stem cell transplantation
- Blood transfusions
- Palliative care
- Clinical trials

Cancer treatment can be difficult and confusing, but The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has resources to guide you. Learn more about choosing a blood cancer specialist, understanding lab and imaging tests, making treatment decisions, managing side effects, when to consider complementary and alternative therapies, and more.


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National Minority Quality Forum is a research and educational organization dedicated to ensuring that high-risk racial and ethnic populations and communities receive optimal health care. This nonprofit, nonpartisan organization integrates data and expertise in support of initiatives to eliminate health disparities.

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