Leukaemia (all subtypes combined) statistics

Cases

New cases of leukaemia, 2012, 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

  • There were around 8,700 new cases of leukaemia in the UK in 2012, that’s around 24 people every day.
  • Leukaemia is the 12th most common cancer in the UK (2012)
  • Leukaemia accounts for 3% of all new cases in the UK (2012).
  • In men, leukaemia is the ninth most common cancer in the UK, with around 5,100 cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • In women, leukaemia is the 11th most common cancer in the UK, with around 3,500 cases diagnosed in 2012.
  • Almost a third (30%) 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.
  • Around 4 in 10 (39%) of cases of leukaemia are diagnosed in people aged 75 or older.
  • Since the late-1970s, leukaemia incidence rates have increased by almost two-fifths (37%) in Great Britain.
  • Over the last decade, leukaemia incidence rates have remained relatively stable in the UK.
  • 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.
  • Leukaemia survival is highest for people diagnosed aged 40-49 years old.
  • Around 7 in 10 people diagnosed aged 40-49 survive their disease for five years or more, compared with less than a quarter of people diagnosed aged 80 and over.
  • 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.

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The latest statistics available for leukaemia (all subtypes combined) in the UK are; incidence 2012, 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.

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.

Citation

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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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