ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of people who will be diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) each year. 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 you individually. The original sources for these statistics are provided at the bottom of this page.
How many people are diagnosed with ALL?
While leukemia in general is a common disease, the specific subtype of ALL is uncommon, making up less than half of 1% of cancers diagnosed in the United States. In 2023, an estimated 6,540 people of all ages (3,660 men and boys and 2,880 women and girls) in the United States will be diagnosed with ALL.
A person of any age can be diagnosed with ALL, but most cases occur in children. In children and teens under age 20, ALL is the most common type of leukemia, accounting for 75% of all leukemia diagnosed in this age group. Children younger than 5 have the highest risk of ALL. (Learn more about childhood ALL statistics.) After a child grows into adulthood, the general risk of ALL rises again after age 50. About 4 out of every 10 people diagnosed with ALL are adults.
It is estimated that 1,390 deaths (700 men and boys and 690 women and girls) from this disease will occur in the United States in 2023. The majority (about 80%) will be in adults.
What is the survival rate for 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 people 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 people age 20 and older is 43%. The 5-year relative survival rate for people under age 20 is 90%.
Recent advances in treatment have significantly lengthened the lives of people with ALL. However, the survival rates for the disease vary based on several factors. These include the biological features of subtype and classification of the cancer, a person’s age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for 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 doctor if you have any questions about this information. Learn more about understanding statistics.
Statistics adapted from the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) publication Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, 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 ALL. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.