What is known?
A child’s ethnicity and where they live are known to have an influence on the chances of being diagnosed with certain types of leukaemia, as well as the eventual outcome. Previous small studies in South Australia have indicated that Indigenous children and those who live in remote areas tend to have more complex forms of leukaemia that are harder to treat, resulting in poorer survival.
What is new?
The study showed that Indigenous children with leukaemia had lower rates of enrolment onto clinical trials and an increased likelihood of failure to attend scheduled appointments following completion of their treatment. Children living in remote areas had significantly lower rates of survival following a diagnosis of leukaemia compared to children living in cities.
What does this mean?
Additional resources are required to ensure children with leukaemia who are Indigenous and/or from remote locations receive medical services that are appropriate to their specific situation. This will help to ensure that their survival and ongoing follow-up is equitable with other Australian children.
Contact: Danny Youlden
Reference: Jessop S, Ruhayel S, Sutton R, Youlden DR, Pearson G, Lu C, Milne S, Henderson MJ, Aitken JF, Kotecha RS, Revesz T. Are outcomes for childhood leukaemia in Australia influenced by geographical remoteness and Indigenous race? Pediatric Blood and Cancer 2021. doi: 10.1002/pbc.28945.