Statistics at a Glance

At a Glance

Year New Cases - SEER 9 New Cases - SEER 13 Deaths - U.S. Percent Surviving 5 Years - SEER 9
Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend
1975 3.02 3.44 - - 2.03 2.06 36.49% 45.52%
1976 3.64 3.47 - - 2.07 1.98 40.50% 47.27%
1977 3.49 3.49 - - 1.95 1.91 57.15% 49.01%
1978 3.46 3.51 - - 1.80 1.84 54.97% 50.71%
1979 3.34 3.53 - - 1.76 1.78 48.66% 52.39%
1980 3.49 3.56 - - 1.75 1.71 55.89% 54.05%
1981 3.66 3.58 - - 1.62 1.65 55.52% 55.67%
1982 3.39 3.60 - - 1.63 1.59 61.69% 57.26%
1983 3.49 3.63 - - 1.53 1.54 57.36% 58.81%
1984 3.97 3.65 - - 1.38 1.48 52.67% 60.33%
1985 4.02 3.67 - - 1.39 1.43 64.18% 61.81%
1986 3.66 3.70 - - 1.34 1.38 64.54% 63.26%
1987 3.64 3.72 - - 1.35 1.33 64.65% 64.66%
1988 3.58 3.75 - - 1.24 1.28 69.30% 66.03%
1989 4.26 3.77 - - 1.21 1.24 68.58% 67.36%
1990 3.89 3.79 - - 1.19 1.19 68.85% 68.65%
1991 4.09 3.82 - - 1.18 1.15 72.47% 69.90%
1992 3.70 3.84 4.01 4.08 1.17 1.11 72.58% 71.11%
1993 3.73 3.87 4.05 4.11 1.12 1.07 70.22% 72.29%
1994 3.41 3.89 3.96 4.14 1.06 1.03 69.04% 73.42%
1995 3.96 3.92 4.20 4.18 1.01 0.99 76.00% 74.52%
1996 3.98 3.94 4.27 4.21 0.95 0.96 75.74% 75.58%
1997 3.74 3.97 4.06 4.24 0.95 0.92 78.16% 76.60%
1998 4.14 4.00 4.55 4.28 0.85 0.89 76.00% 77.59%
1999 4.06 4.02 4.32 4.31 0.84 0.89 76.33% 78.54%
2000 4.13 4.05 4.30 4.35 0.91 0.89 75.82% 79.46%
2001 3.98 4.07 4.26 4.38 0.90 0.89 80.92% 80.34%
2002 4.54 4.10 4.80 4.42 0.83 0.86 79.06% 81.19%
2003 3.82 4.13 4.04 4.45 0.84 0.83 84.48% 82.01%
2004 4.39 4.15 4.65 4.49 0.81 0.81 82.38% 82.79%
2005 4.68 4.18 4.84 4.52 0.78 0.78 83.20% 83.55%
2006 4.09 4.21 4.46 4.56 0.74 0.76 86.79% 84.27%
2007 4.05 4.23 4.65 4.60 0.77 0.73 86.40% 84.97%
2008 4.26 4.26 4.70 4.63 0.71 0.71 85.46% 85.63%
2009 4.13 4.29 4.68 4.67 0.67 0.69 83.45% 86.27%
2010 4.29 4.32 4.72 4.71 0.66 0.67 88.62% 85.56%
2011 4.66 4.35 4.96 4.75 0.62 0.65 - 84.81%
2012 4.26 4.37 4.67 4.78 0.65 0.63 - 84.02%
2013 4.29 4.40 4.57 4.82 0.62 0.61 - 83.20%
2014 4.26 4.43 4.89 4.86 0.55 0.59 - 82.35%
2015 4.27 4.46 4.75 4.90 0.60 0.57 - 81.45%

Modeled trend lines were calculated from the underlying rates using the Joinpoint Trend Analysis Software.


Percent Surviving
5 Years

83.9% 2008-2014

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of childhood leukemia was 4.7 per 100,000 children per year. The number of deaths was 0.6 per 100,000 children per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2011-2015 cases and deaths.

Did You Know? Video Series

Survival Statistics

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with Childhood Leukemia?

Relative survival statistics compare the survival of patients diagnosed with cancer with the survival of people in the general population who are the same age, race, and sex and who have not been diagnosed with cancer. Because survival statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. No two patients are entirely alike, and treatment and responses to treatment can vary greatly.

83.9%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

83.9%

Based on data from SEER 18 2008-2014. Gray figures represent those who have died from childhood leukemia. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

Additional Information

Number of New Cases and Deaths

How Common Is This Cancer?

Compared to other childhood cancers, childhood leukemia is fairly common.

Rank Common Types of Childhood Cancer New Cases
Per 100,000
Deaths
Per 100,000
1. Leukemia 4.7 0.6
2. Brain and Other Nervous System 3.1 0.7
3. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 1.3 0.1
4. Hodgkin Lymphoma 1.2 0.0
5. Testis 1.2 0.0
6. Soft Tissue including Heart 1.1 0.2
7. Thyroid 1.1 0.0
8. Bone and Joint 1.0 0.2
9. Kidney and Renal Pelvis 0.7 0.1
10. Ovary 0.7 0.0

Childhood leukemia represents 26.1% of all new childhood cancer cases.

26.1%

SEER 18 Incidence & U.S. Mortality 2011-2015, Ages 0-19. Rates are Age-Adjusted

Who Gets This Cancer?

The number of new cases of childhood leukemia was 4.7 per 100,000 children per year based on 2011-2015 cases.

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Childhood Leukemia (Ages 0-19)
Males
All Races 5.1
White 5.5
Black 2.9
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.6
American Indian/Alaska Native 4.8
Hispanic 6.1
Non-Hispanic 4.6
Females
All Races 4.4
White 4.8
Black 2.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.0
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.1
Hispanic 5.2
Non-Hispanic 4.0

SEER 18 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Childhood Leukemia
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<1 4.8%
1-4 37.8%
5-9 22.8%
10-14 17.4%
15-19 17.3%

Childhood leukemia is most frequently diagnosed among children aged 1-4.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

6

SEER 18 2011-2015, All Races, Both Sexes

Who Dies From This Cancer?

The number of deaths was 0.6 per 100,000 children per year based on 2011-2015 deaths.

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Childhood Leukemia (Ages 0-19)
Males
All Races 0.7
White 0.7
Black 0.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.7
American Indian/Alaska Native Not Shown, <16 cases
Hispanic 0.9
Non-Hispanic 0.6
Females
All Races 0.5
White 0.6
Black 0.4
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.5
American Indian/Alaska Native Not Shown, <16 cases
Hispanic 0.7
Non-Hispanic 0.5

U.S. 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Childhood Leukemia
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<1 3.8%
1-4 21.7%
5-9 18.6%
10-14 24.1%
15-19 31.9%

The percent of childhood leukemia deaths is highest among children aged 15-19.

Median Age
At Death

11

U.S. 2011-2015, All Races, Both Sexes

Trends in Rates

Changes Over Time

Keeping track of the number of new cases, deaths, and survival over time (trends) can help scientists understand whether progress is being made and where additional research is needed to address challenges, such as improving screening or finding better treatments.

Using statistical models for analysis, rates for new childhood leukemia cases have been rising on average 0.6% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling on average 3.1% each year over 2006-2015. 5-year survival trends are shown below.

More About This Cancer

Cancer and the Blood

Figure: Blood Cells Maturing from Stem Cells

Figure: Stem cells maturing into one of three types of mature blood cells: red blood cells, platelets, and white blood cells. Precursor cells are also shown: stem cells, myeloid blasts, lymphoid stem cells, and lymphoid blasts.

Leukemia is cancer that starts in the tissue that forms blood. Most blood cells develop from cells in the bone marrow called stem cells. In a person with leukemia, the bone marrow makes abnormal white blood cells. The abnormal cells are leukemia cells. Unlike normal blood cells, leukemia cells don't die when they should. They may crowd out normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. This makes it hard for normal blood cells to do their work. The four main types of leukemia are:

There is no standard staging system for leukemia. The disease is described as untreated, in remission, or recurrent.

Additional Information

More Information

Here are some resources for learning more about leukemia.

References

All statistics in this report are based on statistics from SEER and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Health Statistics. Most can be found within:

Noone AM, Howlader N, Krapcho M, Miller D, Brest A, Yu M, Ruhl J, Tatalovich Z, Mariotto A, Lewis DR, Chen HS, Feuer EJ, Cronin KA (eds). SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2015, National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/csr/1975_2015/, based on November 2017 SEER data submission, posted to the SEER web site, April 2018.

Suggested Citation

All material in this report is in the public domain and may be reproduced or copied without permission; citation as to source, however, is appreciated.

SEER Cancer Stat Facts: Childhood Leukemia. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/childleuk.html

These stat facts focus on population statistics that are based on the U.S. population. Because these statistics are based on large groups of people, they cannot be used to predict exactly what will happen to an individual patient. To see tailored statistics, browse the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. To see statistics for a specific state, go to the State Cancer Profiles.

The statistics presented in these stat facts are based on the most recent data available, most of which can be found in the SEER Cancer Statistics Review. In some cases, different year spans may be used. Estimates for the current year are based on past data.

Cancer is a complex topic. There is a wide range of information available. These stat facts do not address causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, follow-up care, or decision making, although links are provided to information in many of these areas.