Acute myelogenous leukemia, a kind of blood and bone marrow cancer that causes the body to create a large number of immature white blood cells, is one of the most difficult malignancies to cure among African-Americans. White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are immune system cells that help protect the body from infectious diseases and other diseases.
Chemotherapy, additional medication therapy, and stem cell transplants are popular treatments for acute myelogenous leukemia.
Research has shown that Black men have worse complete remission rates and overall survival than Whites and Black women. Due to this, Blacks are more likely to have to go through the rigors of chemotherapy compared to other racial and ethnic groups. The primary reason is that Blacks typically are a mixture of races, and finding an exact match for a stem cell transplant is difficult.
Finding a bone marrow match necessitates locating people who share the same human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, tissue type. The more racially and genetically diverse a person’s family is, the more difficult it is to identify someone with the same HLA type for a bone marrow transplant.
Another important aspect is that Blacks are less likely to register as potential bone marrow and stem cell donors. Some argue that the same fears and apprehensions that Blacks have about organ and blood donation contribute to a significant underrepresentation of the Black community in the donor pool.
Although data indicate that Whites have a higher age-adjusted incidence of disease when compared to Blacks and other races and ethnicities, Blacks with acute myelogenous leukemia had an increased risk of death by 12% compared with non-Hispanic Whites, according to researchers at the University of Washington.
Learn more about bone marrow and stem cell donors at the BeTheMatchAtl.org website. The goal is to get as many Blacks between the ages of 18 and 44 to volunteer as stem cell donors and sign up to join the Be The Match Registry®. So sign up today.
To find out how you can join the Be The Match Registry, visit BeTheMatchAtl.org or text HEALTHIQ21 to 61474.