Statistics at a Glance

At a Glance

Year Rate of New Cases — SEER 9 Rate of New Cases — SEER 13 Death Rate — U.S. 5-Year Relative Survival — SEER 9
Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend Observed Modeled Trend
1975 3.02 3.43 - - 2.03 2.08 36.49% 46.81%
1976 3.64 3.45 - - 2.07 2.00 40.50% 48.43%
1977 3.49 3.47 - - 1.95 1.93 57.15% 50.03%
1978 3.46 3.50 - - 1.80 1.85 54.97% 51.61%
1979 3.34 3.52 - - 1.76 1.78 49.01% 53.17%
1980 3.49 3.54 - - 1.75 1.71 55.89% 54.70%
1981 3.66 3.57 - - 1.62 1.64 55.52% 56.20%
1982 3.39 3.59 - - 1.63 1.58 61.69% 57.67%
1983 3.49 3.62 - - 1.53 1.52 57.36% 59.11%
1984 3.97 3.64 - - 1.38 1.46 52.67% 60.53%
1985 4.02 3.67 - - 1.39 1.40 64.18% 61.91%
1986 3.66 3.69 - - 1.34 1.35 64.54% 63.25%
1987 3.64 3.72 - - 1.35 1.30 64.77% 64.57%
1988 3.57 3.74 - - 1.24 1.25 69.17% 65.85%
1989 4.26 3.77 - - 1.21 1.21 68.58% 67.09%
1990 3.89 3.80 - - 1.19 1.18 68.85% 68.31%
1991 4.09 3.82 - - 1.18 1.15 72.48% 69.48%
1992 3.70 3.85 4.00 4.08 1.17 1.11 72.58% 70.63%
1993 3.73 3.87 4.05 4.12 1.12 1.08 70.22% 71.74%
1994 3.41 3.90 3.96 4.15 1.06 1.05 69.04% 72.82%
1995 3.94 3.93 4.19 4.18 1.01 1.02 75.92% 73.86%
1996 3.98 3.95 4.27 4.21 0.95 1.00 75.74% 74.87%
1997 3.74 3.98 4.06 4.25 0.95 0.97 78.16% 75.85%
1998 4.14 4.01 4.55 4.28 0.85 0.94 76.05% 76.80%
1999 4.06 4.04 4.32 4.32 0.84 0.92 76.33% 77.71%
2000 4.13 4.06 4.30 4.35 0.91 0.89 75.86% 78.60%
2001 3.99 4.09 4.27 4.38 0.90 0.87 81.10% 79.45%
2002 4.54 4.12 4.80 4.42 0.83 0.84 79.21% 80.28%
2003 3.82 4.15 4.04 4.45 0.84 0.82 84.54% 81.07%
2004 4.38 4.18 4.65 4.49 0.81 0.80 82.38% 81.84%
2005 4.68 4.20 4.84 4.52 0.78 0.77 83.01% 82.58%
2006 4.09 4.23 4.46 4.56 0.74 0.75 86.95% 83.29%
2007 4.05 4.26 4.65 4.59 0.77 0.73 86.48% 83.98%
2008 4.26 4.29 4.71 4.63 0.71 0.71 85.64% 84.64%
2009 4.13 4.32 4.69 4.67 0.67 0.69 83.57% 85.28%
2010 4.29 4.35 4.71 4.70 0.66 0.67 88.80% 85.89%
2011 4.65 4.38 4.96 4.74 0.62 0.65 87.49% 86.48%
2012 4.23 4.41 4.65 4.78 0.65 0.64 82.67% 87.04%
2013 4.33 4.44 4.60 4.82 0.62 0.62 84.76% 87.59%
2014 4.30 4.47 4.92 4.85 0.55 0.60 - 88.11%
2015 4.32 4.50 4.80 4.89 0.60 0.58 - 88.61%
2016 4.91 4.53 5.10 4.93 0.61 0.57 - 89.09%
2017 4.83 4.56 5.01 4.97 0.56 0.55 - 89.56%
2018 4.26 4.60 4.68 5.01 0.56 0.54 - 90.00%

New cases come from SEER 13. Deaths come from U.S. Mortality.
All Races, Ages 0–19, Both Sexes. Rates are Age-Adjusted.
Modeled trend lines were calculated from the underlying rates using the Joinpoint Trend Analysis Software.

New cases are also referred to as incident cases in other publications. Rates of new cases are also referred to as incidence rates.


5-Year
Relative Survival

85.3% 2011–2017

Rate of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The rate of new cases of childhood leukemia was 4.8 per 100,000 children per year. The death rate was 0.6 per 100,000 children per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2014–2018 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 is an estimate of the percentage of patients who would be expected to survive the effects of their cancer. It excludes the risk of dying from other causes. 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.

85.3%

5-Year
Relative Survival

85.3%

Based on data from SEER 18 2011–2017. Gray figures represent those who have died from childhood leukemia. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.

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 4.8 0.6
2. Brain and Other Nervous System Cancer 3.2 0.7
3. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 1.4 0.1
4. Hodgkin Lymphoma 1.3 0.0
5. Thyroid Cancer 1.2 0.0
6. Soft Tissue Cancer 1.1 0.2
7. Testicular Cancer 1.1 0.0
8. Bone and Joint Cancer 1.0 0.2
9. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 0.7 0.1
10. Ovarian Cancer 0.7 0.0

Childhood leukemia represents 24.3% of all new childhood cancer cases.

24.3%

SEER 21 Incidence & U.S. Mortality 2014–2018, Ages 0–19. Rates are Age-Adjusted

Who Gets This Cancer?

The rate of new cases of childhood leukemia was 4.8 per 100,000 children per year based on 2014–2018 cases, age-adjusted.

Rate of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Childhood Leukemia (Ages 0–19)
Males
All Races 5.3
White 5.6
Black 3.2
Asian/Pacific Islander 5.0
American Indian/Alaska Native 4.4
Hispanic 6.7
Non-Hispanic 4.7
Females
All Races 4.3
White 4.5
Black 2.8
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.4
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.1
Hispanic 5.1
Non-Hispanic 4.0

SEER 21 2014–2018, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Childhood Leukemia
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<1 4.5%
1–4 37.3%
5–9 22.2%
10–14 18.0%
15–19 17.9%

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

Median Age
At Diagnosis

6

SEER 21 2014–2018, All Races, Both Sexes

Who Dies From This Cancer?

The death rate was 0.6 per 100,000 children per year based on 2014–2018 deaths, age-adjusted.

Death Rate per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Childhood Leukemia (Ages 0–19)
Males
All Races 0.6
White 0.7
Black 0.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.6
American Indian/Alaska Native 0.8
Hispanic 0.9
Non-Hispanic 0.6
Females
All Races 0.5
White 0.5
Black 0.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 0.5
American Indian/Alaska Native Not Shown, <16 cases
Hispanic 0.7
Non-Hispanic 0.4

U.S. 2014–2018, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Childhood Leukemia
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<1 4.1%
1–4 22.8%
5–9 18.1%
10–14 22.8%
15–19 32.2%

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

Median Age
At Death

11

U.S. 2014–2018, All Races, Both Sexes

Trends in Rates

Changes Over Time

Keeping track 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, age-adjusted rates for new childhood leukemia cases have been rising on average 0.7% each year over 2009–2018. Age-adjusted death rates have been falling on average 2.8% each year over 2009–2018. 5-year relative survival trends are shown below.

Interactive Statistics with SEER*Explorer

With SEER*Explorer, you can...
  • Create custom graphs and tables
  • Download data and images
  • Share links to results

SEER*Explorer is an interactive website that provides easy access to a wide range of SEER cancer statistics. It provides detailed statistics for a cancer site by gender, race, calendar year, age, and for a selected number of cancer sites, by stage and histology.

Explore Additional Childhood Leukemia Statistics

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 SEER*Explorer.

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 SEER*Explorer. 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 SEER*Explorer. In some cases, different year spans may be used.

Estimates of new cases and deaths for 2021 are projections made by the American Cancer Society (ACS), based on earlier reported 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.