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Leukemia is the most common cancer in children and teens, accounting for almost 1 out of 3 cancers. Overall, however, childhood leukemia is a rare disease.

About 3 out of 4 leukemias among children and teens are acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Most of the remaining cases are acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

ALL is most common in early childhood, peaking between 2 and 4 years of age. Cases of AML are more spread out across the childhood years, but this type of leukemia is slightly more common during the first 2 years of life and during the teenage years.

ALL is slightly more common among Hispanic and white children than among African-American and Asian-American children, and it is more common in boys than in girls. AML occurs about equally among boys and girls of all races.

Chronic leukemias are rare in children. Most of these are chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), which tends to occur more in teens than in younger children.

Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML) usually occurs in young children, with an average age of about 2.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

Survival statistics for childhood leukemia are in another section of this document.

Last Medical Review: 04/17/2015
Last Revised: 02/03/2016