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In the past two decades, treatment advancements for multiple myeloma have significantly improved patient outcomes. Now, multiple lines of treatment are available, and patients enjoy greater life expectancy. However, not all patients receive treatment in a timely manner, which is needed to avoid end-organ damage. This study, published in JCO Oncology Practice, focuses on disparities in treatment timeliness in different populations. 

Data were gathered from the National Cancer Database. It was found that treatment initiation was delayed in women, Black patients, and patients diagnosed in more recent years. Patients were more likely to start treatment earlier if they were 80 years old or older, uninsured, receiving Medicaid, or receiving care through a comprehensive community cancer program. Moreover, education and income levels did not seem to affect the timeliness of treatment initiation. 

The researchers concluded that some aspects of these disparities can be explained by our healthcare system and insurance rules, while others require further research [1].


[1] Kumar, V., Alhaj-Moustafa, M., Bojanini, L., Sher, T., Roy, V., Manochakian, R., Vishnu, P., Bodepudi, S., Shareef, Z., Ahmed, S., Jani, P., Paulus, A., Grover, A., Alegria, V. R., Ailawadhi, M., Chanan-Khan, A., & Ailawadhi, S. (2020). Timeliness of initial therapy in multiple myeloma: trends and factors affecting patient care. JCO Oncology Practice, 16(4), e341–e349. https://doi.org/10.1200/jop.19.00309

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