When African-American kids with cancer and their Caucasian counterparts are enrolled in clinical trials and given costly treatments, their survival rates are similar, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology and reported by HealthDay News.

For the study, researchers at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital compared the outcomes of more than 4,000 St. Jude patients and almost 24,000 pediatric patients treated at various U.S. medical centers for 19 different types of cancer. Of the St. Jude patients, 19 percent were black and about 75 percent were white. Of the patients treated at other hospitals, about 10 percent were black and about 58 percent were white.

Findings showed that among the children treated at St. Jude’s during a 15-year period, there was almost no difference in survival rates of black and white children, regardless of cancer type.

But when scientists checked the health outcomes for black children treated at other centers, they found that these kids fared significantly worse than their white peers with the same type of cancer. (This was the case even though the nation’s overall five-year pediatric survival rate increased thanks to medical advancements.)

According to researchers, the findings are important because they show that if doctors want to better children’s cancer survival rates, then treatment must be equally available to people of all racial and ethnic groups.

“This study shows that with outstanding medical care and psychosocial support, [black] patients should not necessarily fare worse than white patients,” said Ching-Hon Pui, chairman of the St. Jude department of oncology, and the lead study author.

But it’s not just black children with cancer who fare worse at U.S. hospitals—even African-American kids complaining of stomach pains may not get the care they need in the nation’s emergency rooms. Click here to read more.