Childhood leukemia

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Survival statistics for childhood ALL

Survival statistics for childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. These statistics are based on the experience of groups of children and cannot be used to predict a particular child’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your child’s doctor can explain the statistics for childhood ALL and what they mean for your child.

Observed survival

Observed survival is also called overall survival. It is the percentage of children with a certain type of cancer who are expected to live for at least a specified period of time after their diagnosis. Doctors often use the observed survival rate when they talk about a prognosis.

The 5-year observed survival for ALL in children 0 to 14 years of age is 94%. This means that, on average, 94% of children diagnosed with ALL are expected to be alive 5 years after their diagnosis.

Observed survival does not consider the cause of death. But of the 6% of children who don’t survive 5 years, most die from the cancer rather than from other causes.

Questions about survival

Talk to your child’s doctor about their prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • the child’s health history
  • the type of cancer
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

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