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%

5-Year
Relative Survival

65.0% 2011–2017
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 12.81 12.86 - - 8.09 8.04 33.44% 35.60%
1976 13.54 12.88 - - 8.10 8.08 32.90% 36.22%
1977 12.74 12.90 - - 8.11 8.13 37.01% 36.83%
1978 12.87 12.91 - - 8.02 8.17 37.55% 37.45%
1979 12.56 12.93 - - 8.26 8.22 33.67% 38.06%
1980 12.95 12.95 - - 8.36 8.26 37.80% 38.68%
1981 12.38 12.97 - - 8.10 8.21 36.89% 39.30%
1982 13.15 12.99 - - 8.19 8.16 37.18% 39.91%
1983 13.14 13.01 - - 8.11 8.11 38.71% 40.52%
1984 13.01 13.03 - - 8.08 8.05 39.00% 41.14%
1985 13.39 13.05 - - 8.07 8.00 41.62% 41.75%
1986 12.85 13.07 - - 7.96 7.95 41.85% 42.36%
1987 13.38 13.09 - - 7.80 7.90 41.49% 42.97%
1988 13.00 13.11 - - 7.83 7.85 44.72% 43.58%
1989 13.47 13.13 - - 7.95 7.90 43.43% 44.18%
1990 12.93 13.15 - - 7.98 7.96 45.42% 44.79%
1991 13.08 13.17 - - 7.99 8.01 44.65% 45.39%
1992 13.08 13.19 13.01 12.80 7.96 7.97 46.64% 45.99%
1993 13.10 13.22 12.95 12.87 7.93 7.92 47.73% 46.59%
1994 13.13 13.24 12.86 12.94 7.85 7.88 47.58% 47.18%
1995 13.63 13.26 13.45 13.00 7.90 7.84 48.40% 47.77%
1996 13.21 13.28 13.01 13.07 7.84 7.79 49.06% 48.36%
1997 13.29 13.30 13.09 13.14 7.71 7.75 48.87% 48.95%
1998 13.30 13.39 13.24 13.22 7.58 7.71 48.81% 49.54%
1999 12.92 13.49 12.65 13.29 7.68 7.67 48.93% 50.12%
2000 13.83 13.59 13.36 13.36 7.69 7.63 50.36% 50.70%
2001 14.53 13.68 13.85 13.43 7.64 7.58 54.85% 52.89%
2002 13.75 13.78 13.24 13.50 7.54 7.51 58.42% 55.03%
2003 13.82 13.88 13.40 13.57 7.45 7.44 58.02% 57.11%
2004 14.09 13.98 13.64 13.65 7.29 7.36 60.23% 59.14%
2005 14.04 14.08 13.51 13.72 7.26 7.29 61.70% 61.11%
2006 14.13 14.18 13.67 13.79 7.23 7.22 63.28% 63.01%
2007 13.74 14.28 13.58 13.87 7.08 7.15 64.37% 63.48%
2008 14.28 14.39 14.06 13.94 7.09 7.08 62.69% 63.93%
2009 13.93 14.49 13.82 14.02 7.06 7.01 64.30% 64.39%
2010 14.91 14.60 14.55 14.09 6.91 6.94 67.04% 64.84%
2011 15.17 14.70 14.49 14.17 6.95 6.88 67.73% 65.29%
2012 14.94 14.81 14.35 14.24 6.83 6.81 66.75% 65.73%
2013 14.80 14.91 14.20 14.32 6.76 6.74 67.18% 66.17%
2014 14.93 15.02 14.37 14.40 6.62 6.59 - 66.60%
2015 14.40 14.67 13.75 14.02 6.29 6.44 - 67.03%
2016 14.57 14.32 13.81 13.65 6.27 6.29 - 67.46%
2017 14.48 13.98 13.67 13.30 6.19 6.15 - 67.88%
2018 13.22 13.65 12.66 12.95 6.04 6.00 - 68.30%
2019 - - - - 5.86 5.87 - 68.71%

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 6.1 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2014–2018 cases and 2015–2019 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.

Did You Know? Video Series

Survival Statistics

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.

65.0%

5-Year
Relative Survival

65.0%

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
Cases 2021
Estimated
Deaths 2021
1. Breast Cancer (Female) 281,550 43,600
2. Prostate Cancer 248,530 34,130
3. Lung and Bronchus Cancer 235,760 131,880
4. Colorectal Cancer 149,500 52,980
5. Melanoma of the Skin 106,110 7,180
6. Bladder Cancer 83,730 17,200
7. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma 81,560 20,720
8. Kidney and Renal Pelvis Cancer 76,080 13,780
9. Uterine Cancer 66,570 12,940
10. Leukemia 61,090 23,660

Leukemia represents 3.2% of all new cancer cases in the U.S.

3.2%

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.

Rate of New Cases per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Leukemia
Males
All Races 18.3
White 19.4
Black 13.9
Asian/Pacific Islander 10.3
American Indian/Alaska Native 11.7
Hispanic 13.2
Non-Hispanic 18.8
Females
All Races 11.1
White 11.8
Black 9.1
Asian/Pacific Islander 6.6
American Indian/Alaska Native 6.6
Hispanic 9.3
Non-Hispanic 11.3

SEER 21 2014–2018, Age-Adjusted

Percent of New Cases by Age Group: Leukemia
Age Range Percent of New Cases
<20 7.7%
20–34 4.3%
35–44 4.2%
45–54 9.2%
55–64 18.3%
65–74 24.8%
75–84 20.6%
>84 10.8%

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

Median Age
At Diagnosis

67

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 6.1 per 100,000 men and women per year based on 2015–2019 deaths, age-adjusted.

Death Rate per 100,000 Persons by Race/Ethnicity & Sex: Leukemia
Males
All Races 8.2
White 8.5
Black 6.6
Asian/Pacific Islander 4.7
American Indian/Alaska Native 5.3
Hispanic 5.4
Non-Hispanic 8.4
Females
All Races 4.6
White 4.7
Black 4.2
Asian/Pacific Islander 2.6
American Indian/Alaska Native 2.9
Hispanic 3.6
Non-Hispanic 4.6

U.S. 2015–2019, Age-Adjusted

Percent of Deaths by Age Group: Leukemia
Age Range Percent of Deaths
<20 2.0%
20–34 2.4%
35–44 2.3%
45–54 4.8%
55–64 12.1%
65–74 23.9%
75–84 30.0%
>84 22.6%

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

Median Age
At Death

75

U.S. 2015–2019, 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 1.9% each year over 2010–2019. 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: 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

Related Stat Facts by Subtype

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: 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.