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Leukaemia survival statistics

One-, five- and ten-year survival statistics for leukaemia by age and trends over time are presented here. The ICD codes for leukaemia are ICD-10 C91-C95.

The statistics on these pages give an overall picture of survival. Unless otherwise stated, the statistics include all adults diagnosed with leukaemia, at all ages, stages and co-morbidities. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics. If you are a patient, you will probably find our CancerHelp pages more relevant and useful.

The latest survival statistics available for leukaemia in England are 2005-2009 (followed up to 2010). Find out why these are the latest statistics available.

 

One-, five- and ten-year survival

The latest age-standardised relative survival rates for leukaemia in England during 2005-2009 show that 64.5% of men are expected to survive their disease for at least one year, falling to 44% surviving five years or more (Table 3.1).1,2 The survival rates for women are similar, with 63.5% expected to survive for one year or more and 44.4% surviving for at least five years.

Table 3.1: Leukaemia (C91-C95), Age-Standardised One-, Five- and Ten-Year  Relative Survival Rates, Adults (Aged 15-99), England 2005-2009 and England and Wales 2007

Relative Survival (%)
1 Year 5 Year 10 Year
Sex 2005-2009 2005-2009 2007*
Male 64.5 44.0 32.9
Female 63.5 44.4 33.6

Download this table XLS (38KB)

*Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

A common misconception is to treat five-year survival rates as ‘cure’ rates. However, for leukaemia survival continues to fall beyond five years after diagnosis (Table 3.1).3

The five-year relative survival rates for leukaemia cancer are roughly in the middle of the 21 most common cancers in England.1 A contributing factor in leukaemia survival rates not being as high as other cancers is that 57% of cases of acute leukaemia are emergency presentations.4 As with most cancers, treatment is more effective if it is detected at an early stage.

section reviewed 01/05/12
section updated 01/05/12

 

By age

As with nearly all cancers, relative survival for leukaemia is higher in younger men and women, even after taking account of the higher background mortality in older people. The reasons for this are likely to include a combination of better general health, more effective response to treatment and earlier diagnosis in younger people overall.

The five-year relative survival rates for leukaemia in men in England during 2005-2009 ranged from 64% in 15-39 year olds to 19% in 80-99 year olds (Figure 3.1).1 Relative survival was similar in women for all of the age groups, ranging from 63% in 15-39 year olds to 22% in 80-99 year olds. 

Figure 3.1: Leukaemia (C91-C95), Five-Year Relative Survival Rates by Age, England 2005-2009

surv_5yr_age_leukaemia.swf

Download this chart XLS (54KB)

section reviewed 01/05/12
section updated 01/05/12

 

Trends over time

As with the majority of cancers, relative survival for leukaemia is improving. This can generally be attributed to faster diagnosis and improvements in treatment. However, there is still scope for improvement and increasing cancer survival rates remains a major priority of Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer.5

In men, one-year relative survival rates for leukaemia increased from 33% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 64.5% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.2).1,3,6,7 In women, one-year relative survival rates increased from 32% to 63.5% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.2: Leukaemia (C91-C95), Age-Standardised One-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995, England 1996-2009

surv_1yr_leukaemia.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

In men, five-year relative survival rates for leukaemia increased from 12% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to 44% in England during 2005-2009 (Figure 3.3).1,3,6,7 In women, five-year relative survival rates increased from 13% to 44.4% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.3: Leukaemia (C91-C95), Age-Standardised Five-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and England 1996-2009

surv_5yr_leukaemia.swf

Download this chart XLS (56KB)

*Survival rates are for England only from 1996 onwards

Ten-year relative survival rates for men diagnosed with leukaemia increased from 8% in England and Wales during 1971-1975 to a predicted 32.9% in England in 2007 (Figure 3.4). 2,3,8 In women, ten-year relative survival rates increased from 8% to a predicted 33.6% during the same time periods, respectively.

Figure 3.4: Leukaemia (C91-C95), Age-Standardised Ten-Year Relative Survival Rates, England and Wales 1971-1995 and Predicted** 2007 and England 1996-2003

surv_10yr_leukaemia.swf

Download this chart XLS (55KB)

*Survival rates are not age-standardised from 1971-1985
**Ten-year survival rates have been predicted for patients diagnosed in 2007 (using the hybrid approach)

section reviewed 01/05/12
section updated 01/05/12

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References for leukaemia mortality

  1. For data for 2005-2009: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer survival in England: Patients diagnosed 2005-2009 and followed up to 2010. London: ONS; 2011.
  2. For data for 2007: Coleman MP, et al. Research commissioned by Cancer Research UK, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. 2010.
  3. For data for 1996-2003: Rachet B, Maringe C, Nur U, et al. Population-based cancer survival trends in England and Wales up to 2007. Lancet Oncol 2009;10:351-369. Age-standardised figures were provided by the author on request.
  4. Northern Ireland Cancer Registry (NICR). Cancer Survival Online Statistics. Leukaemia. Accessed September 2011.
  5. Department of Health. Improving outcomes: a strategy for cancer. London: Department of Health; 2011.
  6. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
  7. For data for 1991-1995: Office for National Statistics (ONS). Cancer Survival: England and Wales, 1991-2001, twenty major cancers by age group. London: ONS; 2005.
  8. For data for 1971-1990: Coleman MP, Babb P, Damiecki P, et al. Cancer Survival Trends in England and Wales, 1971-1995: Deprivation and NHS Region. Series SMPS No 61. London: ONS; 1999.
Updated: 3 September 2012