Leukemia - Chronic Myeloid - CML: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2019

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about the number of people who are diagnosed with CML each year. You will also read general information on surviving the disease. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. Use the menu to see other pages.

About 15% of all leukemia is CML. This year, an estimated 8,990 people (5,250 men and 3,740 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with CML. Most of these will be adults, with an average age of diagnosis at 64 years. Approximately 50% of cases are found in people over age 64. CML is rare in children.

It is estimated that 1,140 deaths (660 men and 480 women) will occur this year.

The 5-year survival rate tells you what percent of people live at least 5 years after the cancer is found. Percent means how many out of 100. The 5-year survival rate of people with CML depends on the phase of the disease, other biologic characteristics of the CML, and the disease’s response to treatment. The pace of CML treatment research is rapid, with several drug approvals in the past 2 decades. It is important to note that many of the new drugs for CML work very well, and survival rates are continually being measured based on these newer drugs.

Due in large part to recent scientific advances in the area of targeted treatments like imatinib (Gleevec), which was approved in 2001, the 5-year survival rate for CML has more than tripled from 22% for people diagnosed in the mid-1970s to 67% for those diagnosed between 2008 and 2014, which are the most recent data available. And, a study of patients consistently taking the drug imatinib found that 90% lived at least 5 years.

It is important to remember that statistics on the survival rates for people with CML are an estimate. The estimate comes from annual data based on the number of people with this cancer in the United States. Also, experts measure the survival statistics every 5 years. So the estimate may not show the results of better diagnosis or treatment available for less than 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 and Figures 2019, and the ACS website (January 2019).

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