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Childhood Blood Cancers

Leukemia Incidence

  • Leukemia is the most common type of cancer in children and adolescents younger than 20 years, accounting for 26.7 percent of all cases.
  • An estimated 3,605 children and adolescents younger than 15 years are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia in the United States in 2013.
  • About 32 percent of cancer cases in children and adolescents younger than 15 years are leukemia.
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common cancer in children ages 1 to 7 years old.
  • The incidence of ALL among 1- to 4-year olds is nearly eight times greater than the rate for young adults aged 20 to 24 years.
  • Survival rates have improved significantly over the past five decades. Most children younger than 20 years who have ALL will become five-year survivors of the disease.
  • ALL incidence is higher in children younger than 15 years than it is in people ages 15 years old through young adulthood.
  • Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) incidence is lower in children and adolescents younger than 15 years than it is in people ages 15 years through young adulthood.
  • In 2006 to 2010, among 15- to 19-year-olds, ALL incidence was twice that of AML.
  • In 25- to 29-year-olds, AML incidence was 57 percent higher than that of ALL.

Leukemia Incidence by Race and Ethnicity

  • Leukemia rates are higher for children and adolescents who are white, Hispanic, American Indian/Alaskan natives, and Asian and Pacific Islander than for black children and adolescents.
  • In children and adolescents under the age of 20 years, leukemia rates are highest among Hispanics.

Leukemia Survival and Deaths

  • From 2003 to 2009, the five-year relative survival rates for children were:
    • ALL, 92.6 percent for children younger than 5 years and 91.7 percent for children and adolescents younger than 15 years
    • AML, 64.8 percent for children and adolescents under 15 years
  • The leukemia death rate for children and adolescents younger than 15 years in the United States has declined by 80 percent from 1969 to 2010.
  • Despite this decline, leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children, adolescents and young adults younger than 20 years.
  • About 437 children and adolescents under 15 years are expected to die from leukemia in 2013.

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Incidence

  • Lymphoma (Hodgkin lymphoma, 7.6 percent, and NHL, 7.0 percent) is the third most common cancer in children and adolescents younger than 20 years.
  • In 2013, children and adolescents younger than 15 years will constitute 4 percent of all NHL cases expected to be diagnosed

NHL Incidence by Race and Ethnicity

  • In children and adolescents younger than 20 years, the highest incidence rates of NHL are in non-Hispanic white adolescents ages 15 to 19 years (2.03 per 100,000) and non-Hispanic black adolescents ages 15 to 19 years (1.87 per 100,000).

NHL Survival

In children and adolescents younger than 20 years, the five-year relative survival for NHL is 84.5 percent. This represents a significant improvement in the rate of recovery. As recently as the mid-1970s, most children and adolescents with NHL did not survive five years after they were diagnosed.

Hodgkin Lymphoma Incidence

  • The incidence of Hodgkin lymphoma among children and adolescents younger than 20 years was 1.3 per 100,000 population in 2006-2010. The incidence in this age group has remained fairly consistent between 1975 and 2010.
  • Lymphoma is the third most common cancer in children and adolescents younger than 20 years (Hodgkin lymphoma, 7.6 percent; NHL, 7.0 percent).
  • Older children and teenagers are more commonly diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma than young children.
  • In 2013, Hodgkin lymphoma will account for 4 percent of all cancers expected to be diagnosed in children and adolescents younger than 15 years.

Hodgkin Lymphoma Incidence by Race and Ethnicity

  • From ages 15 to 19 years, more non-Hispanic whites are diagnosed with HL than adolescents of other races or ethnic groups.
  • In children and adolescents younger than 15 years, American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian and Pacific Islander populations have the lowest rates of HL. 

Hodgkin Lymphoma Survival

  • The five-year relative survival is 97.1 percent for Hodgkin lymphoma in adolescents ages 15-19 years.
  • The five-year relative survival is 98.1 percent for Hodgkin lymphoma in children and adolescents younger than 15 years.

Childhood blood cancer facts and statistics from Facts 2013.

last updated on Thursday, August 22, 2013
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