Childhood Leukemia

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What Is Leukemia in Children? TOPICS

What are the key statistics for childhood leukemia?

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 it is slightly more common during the first 2 years of life and during the teenage years.

ALL is slightly more common among 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.

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


Last Medical Review: 10/24/2013
Last Revised: 02/03/2014