Childhood leukemia

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Prognosis and survival for childhood leukemia

Children with leukemia and their parents may have questions about prognosis and survival. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with a child’s medical history, type of cancer, characteristics of the cancer, treatments chosen and response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognosis is the doctor’s best estimate of how cancer will affect the child, and how it will respond to treatment. A prognostic factor is an aspect of the cancer or a characteristic of the child that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how a cancer will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together and they both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and a prognosis.

Prognostic factors can vary depending on whether the child has acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) or acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).

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Great progress has been made

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Some cancers, such as thyroid and testicular, have survival rates of over 90%. Other cancers, such as pancreatic, brain and esophageal, continue to have very low survival rates.

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