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Sydney 2005:
Epidemiology of Multiple Myeloma
By Dalsu Baris, MD
Dr. Baris, of the NCI, discussed the epidemiology of MM. The highest risk of MM in the United States is among Blacks, with the lowest risk, in both Asia and the United States, among Asians. Mortality is higher in Blacks versus Whites, and higher in males versus females. Dr. Baris presented SEER data showing an increased risk MM with increased age. Risk factors are unclear but are related to exposure to ionizing radiation, solvents, and agricultural and farming occupations. Studies also suggest an association of MM with low socioeconomic status (SES) and obesity. A recent study conducted among women in Connecticut (United States) examined the impact of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors with the risk of MM. This study showed the risk was higher for subjects with less than a high school education and those in the lowest economic bracket. There was no evidence of increased risk with smoking or use of alcohol; however, this study did find that risk was increased with an increased body mass index (BMI). Although it appears that environmental factors may have a part in the pathogenesis of MM, further, larger studies will need to be conducted to identify exact environmental agents and genetic factors.

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