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A systematic review reveals disparities in the incidence, treatment, and outcomes of Hispanic Americans with multiple myeloma. These disparities may indicate an urgent need for structural solutions to ensure equitable healthcare access for this demographic.

  • Hispanic Americans face health disparities in multiple myeloma, exhibiting worse clinical outcomes than other ethnic groups.
  • The incidence of multiple myeloma in Hispanic Americans is higher than in the general population, and they are diagnosed at a younger median age.
  • Hispanic Americans experience a longer time from diagnosis to initiation of novel therapy, and autologous stem cell transplantation is used at a lower rate in this population.
  • There is a pressing need for structural interventions to increase equitable healthcare access for Hispanic patients.

Multiple myeloma (MM) is a cancer characterized by an abnormal proliferation of plasma cells, leading to end-organ damage. It occurs across all races and geographic locations, with varying incidence rates among ethnicities. Hispanic Americans, the largest and fastest-growing minority group in the U.S., have been found to face significant health disparities relating to MM, according to a systematic review published in the journal Clinical Hematology International.

Diving Into the Data

The systematic review included 22 original studies that compared the incidence, treatment, and outcomes of Hispanic Americans with MM to those of other ethnic groups. The results showed that 59% of the published studies reported worse outcomes for Hispanic Americans compared to other ethnic groups. Furthermore, the incidence of MM in Hispanics was higher, with a median age at presentation 5 years younger than in non-Hispanic Whites. Interestingly, the number of publications on this topic varied over time, with 2021 having the highest number of studies.

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Tackling Health Disparities Head-On

Factors contributing to these disparities included limited access to care, lower utilization of effective MM therapies, and financial, structural, and personal barriers to healthcare. Moreover, Hispanic patients had a higher prevalence of living in areas with lower socioeconomic status (SES) and education levels, factors known to influence health outcomes. Hispanic Americans were also less likely to have health insurance compared to other major ethnic groups.

Suggestions for Clinical Practice and Future Research

The findings of this review point to an urgent need for systemic and structural solutions to address the health disparities faced by Hispanic Americans with MM. For healthcare providers, these results underscore the importance of being mindful of these disparities and working towards more culturally competent care. Increased diversity in the medical workforce could also contribute to reducing these disparities, as minority patients often prefer and are more satisfied with care provided by minority physicians.

The growing body of literature on health disparities affecting Hispanic Americans with MM suggests increased awareness and interest in this area, signaling a call to action to rectify these prevalent disparities. Further research is necessary to identify effective interventions for improving healthcare access and outcomes for Hispanic Americans with MM.


Anampa-Guzmán, A., Alam, S. T., Abuali, I., & Hadidi, S. A. (2022). Health Disparities Experienced by Hispanic Americans with Multiple Myeloma: A Systematic Review. Clinical Hematology International, 5(1), 29–37. https://doi.org/10.1007/s44228-022-00026-2