Leukaemia (all subtypes combined) statistics


New cases of leukaemia, 2013, UK


Deaths from leukaemia, 2012, UK


Survive leukaemia for 10 or more years, 2010-11, England and Wales


Preventable cases of leukaemia, UK

  • There were around 9,300 new cases of leukaemia in the UK in 2013, that’s 25 cases diagnosed every day.
  • Leukaemia is the 11th most common cancer in the UK (2013).
  • Leukaemia accounts for 3% of all new cases in the UK (2013).
  • In males in the UK, leukaemia is the ninth most common cancer, with around 5,600 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • In females in the UK, leukaemia is the 11th most common cancer, with around 3,700 cases diagnosed in 2013.
  • More than half (52%) of leukaemia cases in the UK each year are diagnosed in people aged 70 and over (2011-2013).
  • Since the late 1970s, leukaemia incidence rates have increased by more than two-fifths (43%) in Great Britain. The increase is similar in males (37%, almost two-fifths), and females (37%, almost two-fifths).
  • Over the last decade, leukaemia incidence rates have increased by a twentieth (5%) in the UK, though this includes an increase in males (4%) and stable rates in females.
  • In Europe, around 82,300 new cases of leukaemia were estimated to have been diagnosed in 2012. The UK incidence rate is 14th highest in Europe for males and 19th lowest for females.
  • Worldwide, around 352,000 people were estimated to have been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2012, with incidence rates varying across the world.
  • 1 in 63 men and 1 in 94 women will be diagnosed with leukaemia during their lifetime.

Read more in-depth leukaemia (all subtypes combined) incidence statistics

  • Leukaemia is the ninth most common cause of cancer death in the UK.
  • In the UK in 2012, around 4,800 people died from leukaemia, that's 13 people every day.
  • More than half (56%) of deaths from leukaemia are in people aged 75 and over.
  • In Europe, around 53,800 people were estimated to have died from leukaemia in 2012. The UK mortality rate is 12th lowest in Europe for males and ninth lowest for females.
  • Worldwide, more than 265,000 people died from leukaemia in 2012, with mortality rates varying across the world.

Read more in-depth leukaemia (all subtypes combined) mortality statistics

  • Almost half (46%) of people diagnosed with leukaemia in England and Wales survive their disease for ten years or more (2010-11).
  • More than half (52%) of people diagnosed with leukaemia in England and Wales survive their disease for five years or more (2010-11).
  • Around 7 in 10 (69%) people diagnosed with leukaemia in England and Wales survive their disease for one year or more (2010-11).
  • Leukaemia survival is higher in men than women.
  • More than 7 in 10 people in England diagnosed with leukaemia aged 40-49 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with around a quarter of people diagnosed aged 80 and over (2009-2013).
  • Leukaemia survival is improving and has more than quadrupled in the last 40 years in the UK.
  • In the 1970s, more than 5 in 100 of people diagnosed with leukaemia survived their disease beyond ten years, now it's almost half.

Read more in-depth leukaemia (all subtypes combined) survival statistics

  • 15% of leukaemia (all subtypes combined) cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing leukaemia depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors). 
  • Leukaemia risk factors differ by disease subtype, but ionising radiation is linked with most subtypes (except chronic lymphocytic leukaemia). 
  • An  estimated 15% of leukaemia cases overall in the UK are linked to lifestyle factors including ionising radiation (9%), smoking (6%), and certain occupational exposures (1%). 
  • Other factors may relate to higher risk of certain leukaemia subtypes but evidence is overall unclear.

Want the key stats in the sections on this page as a document? or looking for a stats report of the in-depth stats? Use the print function at the bottom of any Cancer Stats page Share this page > Print or your browser options to print or save.

The latest statistics available for leukaemia (all subtypes combined) in the UK are; incidence 2013, mortality 2012 and survival 2010-2011 (all ages combined) and 2009-2013 (by age).

Leukaemia statistics specifically for children and teenagers and young adults are also provided.

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for leukaemia (all subtypes combined) are ICD-10 C91-C95.

The term 'leukaemia' covers cancers of the white blood cells and bone marrow. Statistics for the four main subtypes of leukaemia are also provided: acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, acute myeloid leukaemia and chronic myeloid leukaemia. These types differ substantially in their cellular origin and clinical behaviour. As such it is important to recognise this when interpreting statistics on mortality from the group 'leukaemia' as a whole.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2012.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. 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, please see our patient information.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Leukaemia is part of the group 'Haematological cancers' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: Hodgkin lymphoma, follicular and non-follicular lymphoma, mature T/NK-cell lymphoma, other and unspecified types of NHL, other and unspecified types of T/NK-cell lymphoma, malignant immunoproliferative diseases, myeloma, lymphoid, myeloid and monocytic leukaemia, some other leukaemia of specific or unspecified cell type, and other and unspecified malignant neoplasms of lymphoid, haematopoietic and related tissue. Acute leukaemia is presented separately.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.


You are welcome to reuse this Cancer Research UK statistics content for your own work.

Credit us as authors by referencing Cancer Research UK as the primary source. Suggested styles are:

Web content: Cancer Research UK, full URL of the page, Accessed [month] [year]. 

Publications: Cancer Research UK ([year of publication]), Name of publication, Cancer Research UK. 


We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

Rate this page:

Currently rated: 3.5 out of 5 based on 28 votes
Thank you!
We've recently made some changes to the site, tell us what you think

Share this page