Facts & Figures about Leukemia

Although leukemia often is thought to be a childhood disease, in fact, the disease strikes 10 times as many adults as children. According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), about 52,380 new leukemia cases were diagnosed in the United States in 2014. Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) is the most frequently-reported form of leukemia in adults.

About 41 percent of all leukemias diagnosed are chronic—chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cases. Hairy cell leukemia (HCL), a slow-growing lymphocytic cancer, accounts for about 2 percent of all leukemias.

Like many other types of cancer, chronic leukemias become more common with age. The average age of patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is roughly 70 years, and the average age of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) patients is 40 to 50 years old. By contrast, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is largely a pediatric (childhood) disease and usually occurs in children younger than 10 years of age.

Worldwide, leukemia generally affects men more often than women. In Western countries, the male:female ratio is highest in CLL patients.

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 14 Aug 1999

Last Modified: 24 Sep 2015