The study found lower survival rates after the children got blood and marrow transplants (BMT), which can cure blood cancers. Researchers looked at 3,700 children who got BMT for either:
- blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myelodysplastic syndrome;
- or other diseases, such as sickle cell disease, inherited immune problems, and more.
Researchers found that children with cancer were less likely to survive if they either:
- had Medicaid (public health insurance for low-income children) instead of private health insurance;
- or were Black, compared to White children.
Survival was not different for low-income or Black children with diseases like sickle cell disease or immune problems.
Keep in mind
Researchers don’t know exactly why children of lower income or Black race had a lower chance of survival. They are now studying possible reasons for these disparities, including the stress of poverty and racism on children’s bodies, or financial hardship and trouble getting the care children need. Researchers want to see if children’s health and survival can be improved by helping families to meet basic needs: food, heat, housing and transportation.
Ask your doctor
Consider asking your doctor to refer you to a social worker to connect your family to resources. Some programs can offset the costs of your child’s care. Others help pay for families to travel if the transplant center is far from home.