Disparities in Childhood ALL Survivorship
At Servier Pharmaceuticals, our unwavering commitment to patient centricity drives us to engage with patients, caregivers, families and patient organizations to ensure their voices are heard. As part of this effort, one of our priorities is working with patients diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common type of childhood leukemia. Each day, we strive to support this community from diagnosis through to survivorship – a journey that, as many can attest, takes a village to overcome.
Unfortunately, at present, there are significant survival disparities seen between Black and White children diagnosed with ALL. Just consider recent study findings published in Cureus, which indicate that there is a greater prevalence of 5-year survival in White children compared with Black children. Additionally, researchers found that the rate at which children die is significantly higher in Black children. These are unacceptable trends, shining light on a lack of equitable care for those seeking treatment.
In many ways, this study highlights the critical importance of providing equal and unbiased care to every child diagnosed with ALL, which I wholeheartedly support. In fact, I previously examined the racial disparities plaguing our healthcare system and I believe it’s necessary that all of us continue educating ourselves on these issues as they continue to evolve. As a growing leader in oncology, Servier was built on the idea that we can’t pioneer transformative treatments without bridging disparities in cancer care – which is why we’re constantly thinking innovatively about how to address inherent inequalities that exist across patient communities.
In order to provide equitable care for all patients, it’s important to understand why these disparities exist. At large, the current disparities in cancer care stem from the larger systemic racial and socioeconomic issues plaguing our country. Health literacy, cultural mistrust and an overall lack of access to education, resources and technology are among the key issues contributing to these glaring inequities and deserve our immediate attention.
Today and every day, our patients are always top of mind. We believe strongly that every individual, regardless of their race, class or gender, should have access to the best care possible. Knowledge can be power, and one way to help combat these societal issues is for us to continue to push on increasing patient education and health literacy. Everyone’s experience with their diagnosis is different and we should strive to provide accessible educational materials and support tools to people impacted by cancer, especially ones that are not traditionally served.
Our Patient Engagement Program provides patients and families with empathetic and caring one-on-one support. Additionally, we are proud to provide our ALL therapies for free to those with financial need. Through our free product program, qualifying patients can receive prescribed Servier products at no cost. But, in order to combat the systemic racism that’s currently affecting ALL survivorship, we recognize that there’s always more work to be done. With this in mind, we vow to keep educating ourselves on best practices and promise to continue looking for opportunities to increase access to care – not just for some, but for all.
At Servier, when it comes to patient care, there is no “one size fits all” approach. We aim to support the individual needs of each and every patient. Since our earliest days as a company, we have recognized the need to care for our patients long after their treatment ends, and have maintained a steadfast focus on providing tools, resources and education for those in need. Every day, we are absolutely committed to creating a better, more equitable future for ALL patients – ensuring they can get the life-saving treatment they need, when they need it most.