Statistics at a Glance

At a Glance

Estimated New Cases in 2018 60,300

% of All New Cancer Cases 3.5%

Estimated Deaths in 2018 24,370

% of All Cancer Deaths 4.0%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

61.4% 2008-2014
Year New Cases - SEER 9 New Cases - SEER 13 Deaths - U.S. Percent Surviving 5 Years - SEER 9
1975 12.8 - 8.1 33.1%
1976 13.5 - 8.1 32.6%
1977 12.7 - 8.1 36.7%
1978 12.9 - 8.0 37.2%
1979 12.6 - 8.3 33.3%
1980 12.9 - 8.4 37.4%
1981 12.4 - 8.1 36.7%
1982 13.1 - 8.2 36.9%
1983 13.1 - 8.1 38.4%
1984 13.0 - 8.1 38.8%
1985 13.4 - 8.1 41.3%
1986 12.8 - 8.0 41.5%
1987 13.4 - 7.8 41.1%
1988 13.0 - 7.8 44.4%
1989 13.5 - 8.0 43.1%
1990 12.9 - 8.0 45.1%
1991 13.1 - 8.0 44.4%
1992 13.1 13.0 8.0 46.2%
1993 13.1 12.9 7.9 47.4%
1994 13.1 12.8 7.9 47.1%
1995 13.6 13.5 7.9 48.1%
1996 13.2 13.0 7.8 48.6%
1997 13.3 13.1 7.7 48.3%
1998 13.3 13.2 7.6 48.1%
1999 12.9 12.6 7.7 48.3%
2000 13.8 13.3 7.7 49.9%
2001 14.5 13.8 7.6 54.3%
2002 13.7 13.2 7.5 57.6%
2003 13.8 13.3 7.4 57.3%
2004 14.0 13.6 7.3 59.6%
2005 14.0 13.4 7.3 60.9%
2006 14.0 13.6 7.2 62.4%
2007 13.6 13.4 7.1 63.6%
2008 14.1 13.9 7.1 61.7%
2009 13.8 13.7 7.1 63.3%
2010 14.5 14.2 6.9 65.6%
2011 14.7 14.1 6.9 -
2012 14.5 13.9 6.8 -
2013 14.3 13.7 6.8 -
2014 14.2 13.7 6.6 -
2015 13.6 12.9 6.3 -

Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of leukemia was 13.8 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 6.7 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2011-2015 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with leukemia at some point during their lifetime, based on 2013-2015 data.

Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2015, there were an estimated 405,815 people living with leukemia in the United States.

Survival Statistics

How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with 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.

61.4%

Percent Surviving
5 Years

61.4%

Based on data from SEER 18 2008-2014. Gray figures represent those who have died from 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 cancers, leukemia is fairly common.

Rank Common Types of Cancer Estimated New
Cases 2018
Estimated
Deaths 2018
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 266,120 40,920
2. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 234,030 154,050
3. Prostate Cancer 164,690 29,430
4. Colorectal Cancer 140,250 50,630
5. Melanoma of the Skin 91,270 9,320
6. Bladder Cancer 81,190 17,240
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 74,680 19,910
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 65,340 14,970
9. Uterine Cancer 63,230 11,350
10. Leukemia 60,300 24,370

Leukemia represents 3.5% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

3.5%

In 2018, it is estimated that there will be 60,300 new cases of leukemia and an estimated 24,370 people will die of this disease.

Who Gets This Cancer?

Although leukemia is among the most common childhood cancers, it most often occurs in older adults. Leukemia is slightly more common in men than women. The number of new cases of leukemia was 13.8 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011-2015 cases.

Number of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Leukemia
Males
All Races 17.6
White 18.6
Black 14.0
Asian/Pacific Islander 9.7
American Indian/Alaska Native 10.6
Hispanic 12.8
Non-Hispanic 18.1
Females
All Races 10.8
White 11.4
Black 9.0
Asian/Pacific Islander 6.4
American Indian/Alaska Native 6.5
Hispanic 8.8
Non-Hispanic 10.9

SEER 18 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Leukemia
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<20 8.8%
20-34 4.6%
35-44 4.7%
45-54 9.8%
55-64 17.9%
65-74 23.2%
75-84 20.5%
>84 10.6%

Leukemia is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65-74.

Median Age
At Diagnosis

66

SEER 18 2011-2015, All Races, Both Sexes

Who Dies From This Cancer?

Death rates from leukemia are higher among the elderly. People with leukemia have many treatment options, and treatment for leukemia can often control the disease and its symptoms. Leukemia is the seventh leading cause of cancer death in the United States. The number of deaths was 6.7 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2011-2015 deaths.

Number of Deaths per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Leukemia
Males
All Races 9.0
White 9.3
Black 7.4
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.9
American Indian/Alaska Native 5.5
Hispanic 6.0
Non-Hispanic 9.2
Females
All Races 5.0
White 5.2
Black 4.5
Asian/Pacific Islander 2.9
American Indian/Alaska Native 3.3
Hispanic 3.9
Non-Hispanic 5.0

U.S. 2011-2015, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Leukemia
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<20 2.2%
20-34 2.6%
35-44 2.4%
45-54 5.5%
55-64 12.6%
65-74 23.1%
75-84 30.0%
>84 21.6%

The percent of leukemia deaths is highest among people aged 75-84.

Median Age
At Death

75

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 leukemia cases have been rising on average 0.3% each year over the last 10 years. Death rates have been falling on average 1.5% 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.

Did You Know? Video Series

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: Leukemia. National Cancer Institute. Bethesda, MD, https://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/leuks.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.