Leukemia - Acute Lymphoblastic - ALL - Childhood: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 02/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of children and teens who will be diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) each year, also called childhood ALL. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors, and no 2 people with cancer are the same. Use the menu to see other pages.

Every person is different, with different factors influencing their risk of being diagnosed with this cancer and the chance of recovery after a diagnosis. It is important to talk with your doctor about any questions you have around the general statistics provided below and what they may mean for your child individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.

How many children and teens are diagnosed with ALL?

ALL is the most common type of childhood cancer. In the United States, approximately 75% of people under age 20 diagnosed with leukemia are diagnosed with ALL. Most cases occur between ages 2 and 5. However, it can be diagnosed at any age. An estimated 400 people ages 15 to 19 in the United States are diagnosed with the disease each year.

ALL is less common in girls than boys. Hispanic children and White children are slightly more likely to develop ALL than Asian children and Black children.

What is the survival rate for childhood ALL?

There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from ALL. These are called survival statistics. A specific type of survival statistic is called the relative survival rate. It is often used to predict how having cancer may affect life expectancy. Relative survival rate looks at how likely people with ALL are to survive for a certain amount of time after their initial diagnosis or start of treatment compared to the expected survival of similar people without this cancer.

Example: Here is an example to help explain what a relative survival rate means. Please note this is only an example and not specific to this type of cancer. Let’s assume that the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type of cancer is 90%. “Percent” means how many out of 100. Imagine there are 1,000 people without cancer, and based on their age and other characteristics, you expect 900 of the 1,000 to be alive in 5 years. Also imagine there are another 1,000 people similar in age and other characteristics as the first 1,000, but they all have the specific type of cancer that has a 5-year survival rate of 90%. This means it is expected that 810 of the people with the specific cancer (90% of 900) will be alive in 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for children and teens with ALL are only an estimate. They cannot tell an individual person if cancer will or will not shorten their life. Instead, these statistics describe trends in groups of people previously diagnosed with the same disease, including specific stages of the disease.

The 5-year relative survival rate for children 0 to 14 with ALL is 92%. The 5-year relative survival rate for teens ages 15 to 19 is 77%. The survival rates for children and teens with ALL vary based on several factors. These include the classification of the age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.

For younger patients diagnosed with acute leukemia, those who remain free from the disease after 5 years are generally considered cured because it is rare for acute leukemia to recur after this amount of time.

Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for childhood ALL every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how ALL is diagnosed or treated from the last 5 years. Talk with your child’s doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society's (ACS) publications, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023 and Cancer Facts & Figures 2020: Special Section - Cancer in Adolescents and Young Adults, and the ACS website. (All sources accessed February 2023.)

The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by childhood ALL. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.