HORSHAM, PA — The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson announced the recent launch of That’s My Word™ to raise awareness of and help to drive better health outcomes for multiple myeloma among at-risk populations. A national campaign bringing together trusted voices among Black communities, including those at risk of multiple myeloma, care partners, healthcare professionals, advocacy groups and award-winning radio host and comedian D.L. Hughley, That’s My Word™ aims to be a source of both information and hope by sharing resources specifically for Black patients and their care partners about this rare blood cancer.
Delays in diagnosis and treatment initiation, as well as unequal access to newer and more advanced medicines, are part of the challenging reality that creates significant health disparities in multiple myeloma.1
- Each year, approximately 35,000 people are diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the United States, and more than 20 percent of all cases occur in Black people, with cases on the rise.2,3
- Multiple myeloma is often diagnosed in people over the age of 60 years, but Black people are typically diagnosed 5-10 years earlier.2,4
- While Black patients are less likely to have more aggressive disease, they are twice as likely to die from multiple myeloma because it is often undetected until it has progressed to more advanced stages.1,3
- Yet, studies show that with early diagnosis, early treatment initiation, and equal access to care, Black patients can achieve better outcomes.5
Comedian and award-winning radio host D.L. Hughley is partnering with Janssen to empower Black communities with information and encourage better self-advocacy for their health. Hughley’s personal experience with cancer, including his father and sister, motivated him to take his own health seriously many years ago.
“Cancer has touched so many of us, but we need greater awareness of diseases that are disproportionately affecting and killing Black people, like multiple myeloma,” said D.L. Hughley. “I am so inspired by people who are living with this disease and who have become actively involved in their health decisions, caregivers who have experienced incredible loss yet push on, and healthcare professionals who are helping to address the complex relationship that our community has with the healthcare system. I am honored to work in partnership with the Black community through That’s My Word™ to raise awareness of critical information and encourage action in a way that can potentially save lives.”
Janssen continues to partner with the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), which is equally passionate in combating healthcare disparities in multiple myeloma. Together, Janssen and the IMF are encouraging people to make Multiple Myeloma Promises, or pledges, to commit to learning more about multiple myeloma and be proactive with their health to help catch it early and treat it, which hopefully will lead to better health outcomes. Janssen will donate one dollar to the IMF, up to $50,000, for each promise made through the campaign at @thatsmywordMM on Facebook and Instagram.
“Multiple myeloma is too often still diagnosed late or remains undiagnosed altogether in Black communities. While it’s important for patients to be vocal about what they are experiencing, it is equally important that healthcare providers listen to their patients to recognize the signs and symptoms that support prompt and accurate diagnosis,” said Joseph Mikhael, MD, Chief Medical Officer, International Myeloma Foundation and Professor, Translational Genomics Research Institute, City of Hope Cancer Center.3,4 “Through initiatives such as That’s My Word™, we share a commitment to reaching underserved patient communities that can help result in better education and better outcomes.”
As a leader in the treatment of multiple myeloma, Janssen believes all patients should be treated equally with comprehensive cancer care as part of its commitment to eradicate racial and social injustice as a public health threat, and Our Race to Health Equity.
“We launched That’s My Word™ to change the trajectory of multiple myeloma in Black communities, because we know the impact of health disparities is exacerbated for people who are living with this incurable blood cancer,” said Tyrone Brewer, President, Oncology, Janssen Biotech, Inc. “We are grateful for the partnerships we’ve built within the community because no entity can do this alone. We will continue to work toward a future in which improved outcomes are the reality for all patients, as part of our mission to reimagine care so that patients can redefine living.”
To get involved, follow the conversation on social media using the hashtags #ThatsMyWordMM and #MMPromise.
- American Cancer Society Cancer Facts & Figures for African American/Black People. American Cancer Society 2022-2024. https://www.cancer.org/content/dam/cancer-org/research/cancer-facts-and-statistics/cancer-facts-and-figures-for-african-americans/2022-2024-cff-aa.pdf. Accessed January 2023.
- What is Multiple Myeloma. International Myeloma Foundation 2022. https://www.myeloma.org/what-is-multiple-myeloma. Accessed January 2023.
- Disparities in African Americans. International Myeloma Foundation 2022. https://www.myeloma.org/IMF-Diversity-Equity-Inclusion-Policy/disparities-african-americans. Accessed January 2023.
- Multiple Myeloma in African Americans. The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. https://themmrf.org/2019/08/multiple-myeloma-in-african-americans/. Published January 2020. Accessed January 2023.
- Dong J, Hari P. Black patients with multiple myeloma have better survival than white patients when treated equally: a matched cohort study. Blood Cancer Journal. 2022.
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