Individuals with blood cancer are more likely to die if they have diabetes, a new study has indicated.

Researchers have found that White people with diabetes are at an increased risk of death if they are diagnosed with multiple myeloma – a blood cancer of plasma cells in the bone marrow.

However, they have discovered that diabetes does not put Black people more at risk of death if they are diagnosed with multiple myeloma, despite both conditions affecting non-Hispanic Black adults the most.

Approximately 13% of people in the US have diabetes, with the number set to rise further, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported. Data also shows that multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in America.

Dr Urvi Shah, a multiple myeloma specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, said: “We knew from prior studies that patients with multiple myeloma and diabetes have lower survival rates. But what we did not know is how these outcomes differ between races.

“Diabetes is much more common in Black individuals versus White individuals, and we wanted to understand whether this difference may play a role in health outcomes among patients with both conditions.”

During the investigation, the team of academics looked at the health records of 5,383 people, all of whom have multiple myeloma.

They found that White people with diabetes were less likely to survive if they were diagnosed with myeloma.

According to the investigative research report, they did not observe this finding among Black individuals.

Dr Shah added: “What we did not expect to see here was that diabetes was actually associated with worse survival outcomes among White individuals with myeloma, but not Black individuals.”

Experts have said that older people are more at risk of dying from multiple myeloma as younger people respond to treatments better.

Dr Shah concluded: “While drugs are important, as oncologists, we need to also look at comorbidities and modifiable risk factors to improve patient survival outcomes. Therapies and lifestyle changes can go hand in hand.”

The study was published in the journal Blood Advances.

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