Working alongside the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF), American songwriter, actor, producer, and well-known artist Ice-T is on a mission to help raise awareness of multiple myeloma in the African American community during Black History Month.
Multiple myeloma is the second most common blood cancer in the world and the most common blood cancer in African Americans. Previous studies have shown that the biology of myeloma may be different in African Americans and that they are diagnosed at a younger age (by about 5 years), as compared to White Americans.
M-POWER | Actor and Artist Ice-T Raises Awareness of Myeloma in the Black Community
In the U.S., 1 out of every 5 myeloma patients is African American—constituting about 20 percent of all myeloma patients. That incidence continues to grow—by 2034, it is estimated that African Americans will make up about 24 percent of newly diagnosed myeloma patients.
Even then, African Americans make up only about 8 percent of participants in cancer clinical trials and are less likely to receive Triplets, Transplants, and CAR T-cell therapy. These disparities are mostly caused by existing socioeconomic differences and barriers to healthcare access among African Americans with myeloma.
Early diagnosis of multiple myeloma is crucial to achieve favorable outcomes yet delays from symptom onset to diagnosis take longer in African Americans. That’s why it’s so important to get the word out in the African American community to raise awareness about this lesser-known disease.
In a series of public service announcements (PSA) from the International Myeloma Foundation
Ice-T sends out a very urgent and important message: “Multiple myeloma, it’s the most common blood cancer in African Americans, and we can’t ignore it. Since African Americans are diagnosed later and don’t always get the best treatments, our community members are suffering, living half as long as typical survival outcomes. Here’s the good news: when barriers to early diagnosis and treatment are removed, African American myeloma patients do just as well, or even better than, White individuals. The time for health equity is now. With early diagnoses and proper treatment, we can defy the odds and thrive.”
IMF Med Scholars for Health Equity in Myeloma Mentorship | Cultivating the Future of Myeloma Care
“The International Myeloma Foundation’s M-Power project is leading the way. M-Power, Myeloma-Power, is a national movement, but it’s also a local movement, going city by city, taking a boots-on-the-ground approach to fighting myeloma in the African American community. Whether it’s through music, art, our barbershops, food trucks, or churches, we’re raising awareness about this disease and M-Powering our community.”
Addressing Disparities in Multiple Myeloma and the Path to Health Equity
When it comes to multiple myeloma, Ice-T emphasizes the importance of awareness and education: “We need to get informed and take control of our health. Knowledge is power. Get the facts. Know the signs. Know the symptoms. Talk to your doctor. Change the course of myeloma in the African American community. Visit mpower.myeloma.org.”
To kick off Black History Month and to help heighten myeloma awareness, the IMF will be airing one of Ice-T’s public service announcements on screen at the iconic NASDAQ tower, in the heart of Times Square in New York City. The 30-second spot will run once every hour for 7 days, beginning February 1.
“For me, a young Black man diagnosed with this disease at age 25, Ice-T’s involvement with the IMF feels deeply personal. Myeloma in African Americans is twice as common than in White Americans, and too often, timely diagnosis gets overlooked. That’s why Ice-T’s partnership with the IMF is so powerful. He’s not just a successful artist and actor; he’s a beacon, amplifying the voices of countless Black patients by using his platform to illuminate the early signs and symptoms of this disease. Yes, we want to improve the lives of myeloma patients, but we’re fighting for a future where myeloma doesn’t steal the spotlight from any more lives. I am grateful for Ice-T’s partnership.” — stated IMF President and CEO Yelak Biru, who is also a 28-year myeloma survivor.
The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure through its concerted efforts in myeloma research, education, support, and advocacy. Learn more about multiple myeloma and what the IMF is doing in the fight against this lesser-known blood cancer by visiting myeloma.org.
ABOUT THE M-POWER PROJECT
Partnering with cities across the U.S., the International Myeloma Foundation’s (IMF) M-Power Project aims to turn the core vision of the IMF Diversity Initiative into a reality: improving the short- and long-term outcomes of African American patients with multiple myeloma. By raising myeloma awareness and empowering healthcare professionals, community leaders, neighborhoods, and families, the M-Power Project aims to break down barriers for the African American myeloma community.
ABOUT MULTIPLE MYELOMA
Multiple myeloma is a cancer of the bone marrow plasma cells — white blood cells that make antibodies. A cancerous or malignant plasma cell is called a myeloma cell. Myeloma is called “multiple” because there are frequently multiple patches or areas in the bone where it grows. It often involves damage to bone and kidneys. Multiple myeloma is still incurable, but great progress has been made in terms of survival over the last two decades. The disease is twice as common and is diagnosed at a younger age in African Americans than in White Americans. The most common presenting symptoms include fatigue and bone pain.
ABOUT THE INTERNATIONAL MYELOMA FOUNDATION
Founded in 1990, the International Myeloma Foundation (IMF) is the first and largest global foundation focusing specifically on multiple myeloma. The Foundation’s reach extends to more than 525,000 members in 140 countries worldwide. The IMF is dedicated to improving the quality of life of myeloma patients while working toward prevention and a cure by focusing on four key areas: research, education, support, and advocacy.
The IMF has conducted more than 250 educational seminars worldwide, maintains a world-renowned InfoLine, and in 2001, established the International Myeloma Working Group (IMWG), a collaborative research initiative focused on improving myeloma treatment options for patients. In 2012, the IMF launched the Black Swan Research Initiative®, a groundbreaking research project aimed at curing myeloma. The IMF can be reached at (800) 452-CURE (2873). The global website is www.myeloma.org.