Leukaemia (all subtypes combined) statistics

Cases

New cases of leukaemia, 2011, UK

Deaths

Deaths from leukaemia, 2012, UK

Survival

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

Prevention

Preventable cases of leukaemia, UK

  • Overall, leukaemia is the eleventh most common cancer in the UK, accounting for 3% of all cancers.
  • Around 8,600 people were diagnosed with leukaemia in  the UK in 2011, that’s more than 23 people every day.
  • Leukaemia is the ninth most common cancer in males in the UK, with around 5,000 cases diagnosed in 2011.
  • Leukaemia is the eleventh most common cancer in females in the UK, with around 3,600 cases diagnosed in 2011.
  • Around a third of all cancers diagnosed in children are leukaemia. 
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia is the most common type of leukaemia in children. Four-fifths of all leukaemia diagnosed in children is this type. 
  • Around 460 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed each year in children in Great Britain.
  • Although leukaemia is the most common cancer of  childhood, more than 9 in 10 cases are diagnosed in adults.
  • Almost 4 in 10 cases of leukaemia are diagnosed in people aged 75 or older, and around half are in people aged 70 or older.
  • 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.

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

  • More than half of people diagnosed with leukaemia survive their disease for at least five years after diagnosis.
  • Five-year survival for leukaemia has quadrupled in the last forty years.
  • People diagnosed with leukaemia today are now nearly seven times more likely to survive their disease for at least ten years compared with those diagnosed in the early 1970s.
  • More than 4 in 10 people diagnosed with leukaemia will survive their disease for at least ten years.
  • More than 8 in 10 children diagnosed with leukaemia in Great Britain now survive for five years or more, thanks to improved treatments. In the late 1960s, only around 1 in 10 survived.

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.

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

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.

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.

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Acknowledgements

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.

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