Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:
- type and stage of cancer
- level of fitness
- previous treatment
These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.
Survival statistics for acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL)
There are no UK-wide statistics available for ALL survival.
The following survival statistics are for people diagnosed with ALL in England between 2008 and 2010. They come from the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN).
Generally for people with ALL:
- around 70 out of 100 people (70%) will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
This is for people of all ages. Younger people tend to do much better than older people:
- in those aged 14 or younger, more than 90 out of 100 (more than 90%) will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
- in those aged between 15 and 24, almost 70 out of 100 (almost 70%) will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after diagnosis
- in those aged between 25 and 64, almost 40 out of 100 (almost 40%) will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed
- in those aged 65 or older, almost 15 out of 100 (almost 15%) will survive their leukaemia for 5 years or more after diagnosis
What affects survival
Your age affects outlook. Younger people have a better prognosis.
Outlook depends on the specific type of white blood cell the leukaemia affects. It is also affected by changes in your chromosomes or genes. These are called cytogenetic tests. Some specific genetic abnormalities in your leukaemia cells may make the leukaemia harder to treat successfully.
Survival is affected by how advanced the leukaemia is at diagnosis. If you have a high number of white blood cells in the blood at diagnosis, the outlook is poorer. Your outlook is also worse if there are leukaemia cells in your brain or spinal fluid when you are diagnosed.
Your outlook is also affected by how well the leukaemia responds to treatment and how long it takes to get into remission. Remission means the leukaemia is not active and doctors can't find any sign of it.
If the leukaemia comes back (relapses) after treatment, it is sometimes possible to have a second remission with more chemotherapy.
About these statistics
The terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years. They relate to the number of people who are still alive 1 year or 5 years after their diagnosis of cancer.
Some people live much longer than 5 years.
The statistics on this page are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than leukaemia. This gives a more accurate picture of leukaemia survival.
For more in-depth information about survival and acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, go to our Cancer Statistics section.