Risk of complications and comorbidity higher in South Asian and Black cancer patients compared with population averages across England

High Wycombe, UK, Tuesday 13th December – The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson has released a new data analysis, published in the Archives of Clinical and Biomedical Research, which shows that Black and South Asian people in England with prostate cancer, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), or multiple myeloma face up to 20% higher risk of associated complications and comorbidity than the average cancer patient in England.

The analysis, based on Hospital Episodes Statistics data, investigated all admissions, outpatient appointments and A&E attendances at NHS hospitals in England between 2016-2021, to examine the impact of ethnicity on clinical severity, treatment costs and a range of patient activity indicators (such as frequency of hospital visits and length of time in hospital) across CLL, multiple myeloma and prostate cancer.1 The analysis revealed that:

  • Compared to the population average across all three cancer types, ethnic minority groups were more likely to experience comorbidities and complications associated with the admission. The magnitude of the effect was strongest for the South Asian population, and for more severe forms of prostate cancer (+1.97, p<0.05).
  • South Asian patients had the highest average clinical severity for multiple myeloma and prostate cancer.
  • Treatment costs to the NHS were significantly higher when treating Black patients with prostate cancer and South Asian patients with multiple myeloma
    • Hospital treatment costs for Black prostate cancer patients requiring interventions were an average of £842 more per patient than the national average (p<0.001).
    • Treatment costs for South Asian multiple myeloma patients were an average of £1,686 more per patient than the national average (p<0.001).

Commenting on the paper, Sarah Gray, National Support and Development Manager at patient-led prostate cancer charity, Tackle Prostate Cancer, said: “Tackle Prostate Cancer welcome this study conducted by Janssen that highlights the disparity in care and outcomes for Black and South Asian people. The results are a stark reminder that more needs to be done to first understand the wider determinants leading to these disparities and then secondly how we as a system work together to address care and attention provided to ethnic minority groups.”

Pedro Figueiredo Aparicio, Senior Product Manager, Lymphoma Brand Lead at Janssen UK and one of the study authors said: “This analysis is important because not only does it indicate that these patient populations experience a disproportionately high burden of disease, it also suggests that actively addressing the underlying causes could improve equity of outcomes especially among underserved communities. At Janssen UK, we remain firmly committed to working with stakeholders, support groups, and the cancer community, to address the barriers holding people back from seeking help and getting the care they need along their cancer journeys.”