Is There Correlation Between Childhood Leukemia & Low-Income Areas?

Is There Correlation Between Childhood Leukemia & Low-Income Areas?
Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Ed Uthman / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Children from poor families with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) have a 92 percent chance of relapse in just a span of 36 months or three years.


According to a study around 92 percent of pediatric cases of ALL would relapse within 36 months if the child lives in low-income areas, which is relatively higher than the 48 percent chance of relapse for those children in low-poverty areas. The study, as reported by the Guardian, was published in the journal Pediatric Blood and Cancer, Tuesday. The recently published study is one of the few studies that tried to investigate the effects of poverty on the outcomes or prognosis of ALL cases among children.

By closely monitoring the updates and outcomes of treatment of 575 children with ALL across the US between 2000 and 2010, the study was able to produce insightful data that could be very beneficial in addressing the problem of poor treatment outcomes in childhood ALL cases. The 575 participants of the study, which was led by Dr. Kira Bona of the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, were aged between one and 18, who all received treatments from various academic hospitals across the country.

According to the report, cases of leukemia that relapse earlier have poorer treatment outcomes or prognosis. That’s why preventing a much sooner relapse is an important aspect that researchers want to establish. “When children are hospitalized or sick enough to go to the intensive care unit, we as their oncologists often have to delay their planned chemotherapy or reduce the dosage of chemotherapy that we give them. That in turn could lead to early relapse,” Bona was quoted as saying by the Guardian.

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According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cancer is the second leading cause of death among children in the US in 2006. In that year, cancer has claimed a total of 1284 lives of children in the US.

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