ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the estimated number of children and teens who will be diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) 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 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 AML?
In general, leukemia is the most common childhood cancer. AML is the second most common form of leukemia in children, after acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). AML makes up 17% of leukemia cases among children and teens. However, most cases of AML occur in adults. AML can be diagnosed at any age, but during childhood, it is a little more common during the first 2 years of life and during the teenage years. In the United States, about 730 people under age 20 are diagnosed with AML each year. AML is diagnosed in similar rates for children of different races and sexes.
What is the survival rate for children and teens with AML?
There are different types of statistics that can help doctors evaluate a person’s chance of recovery from AML. 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 AML 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 AML 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 under the age of 15 with AML is 68%. The 5-year relative survival rate for teens ages 15 to 19 is also 68%.
The survival rates for children and teens with AML vary based on several factors. These include their age and general health, and how well the treatment plan works. Another factor that can affect outcomes is the subtype of AML. For instance, research indicates that a subtype called acute promyelocytic leukemia has a 5-year relative survival rate of more than 80%.
Experts measure relative survival rate statistics for AML every 5 years. This means the estimate may not reflect the results of advancements in how AML in children and teens 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) publication, Cancer Facts & Figures 2023, the ACS website, and the Children’s Oncology Group (COG) CureSearch for Children’s Cancer website. Additional source was: Seigel R, et al.: Cancer Statistics 2023. CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians. 2023 Jan; 73(1):17–48. doi/full/10.3322/caac.21763. (All sources accessed February 2023.)
The next section in this guide is Medical Illustrations. It offers drawings of body parts often affected by childhood AML. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.