Statistics at a Glance
At a Glance
Estimated New Cases in 2021 61,090
% of All New Cancer Cases 3.2%
Estimated Deaths in 2021 23,660
% of All Cancer Deaths 3.9%
|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|
New cases come from SEER 13. Deaths come from U.S. Mortality.
All Races, 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.
Rate of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The rate of new cases of leukemia was 14.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. The death rate was 6.3 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2014–2018 cases and deaths.
Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 1.6 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with leukemia at some point during their lifetime, based on 2016–2018 data.
Prevalence of This Cancer: In 2018, there were an estimated 459,058 people living with leukemia in the United States.
How Many People Survive 5 Years Or More after Being Diagnosed with 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.
Based on data from SEER 18 2011–2017. Gray figures represent those who have died from leukemia. Green figures represent those who have survived 5 years or more.
New Cases and Deaths
How Common Is This Cancer?
Compared to other cancers, leukemia is fairly common.
|Rank||Common Types of Cancer||Estimated New
|1.||Breast Cancer (Female)||281,550||43,600|
|3.||Lung and Bronchus Cancer||235,760||131,880|
|5.||Melanoma of the Skin||106,110||7,180|
|8.||Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer||76,080||13,780|
Leukemia represents 3.2% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.
In 2021, it is estimated that there will be 61,090 new cases of leukemia and an estimated 23,660 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 rate of new cases of leukemia was 14.3 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2014–2018 cases, age-adjusted.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||11.7|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||6.6|
SEER 21 2014–2018, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of New Cases|
Leukemia is most frequently diagnosed among people aged 65–74.
SEER 21 2014–2018, 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 death rate was 6.3 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2014–2018 deaths, age-adjusted.
|American Indian/Alaska Native||5.5|
|American Indian/Alaska Native||2.8|
U.S. 2014–2018, Age-Adjusted
|Age Range||Percent of Deaths|
The percent of leukemia deaths is highest among people aged 75–84.
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 leukemia cases have not changed significantly over 2009–2018. Age-adjusted death rates have been falling on average 1.7% each year over 2009–2018. 5-year relative survival trends are shown below.
Interactive Statistics with SEER*Explorer
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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 Leukemia Statistics
More About This Cancer
Cancer and the Blood
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:
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
- Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML)
Related Stat Facts by Subtype
- Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) Stat Facts
- Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) Stat Facts
- Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL) Stat Facts
- Chronic Myeloid Leukemia (CML) Stat Facts
Here are some resources for learning more about leukemia.
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.
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 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.