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Leukaemia in Australia

Leukaemia incorporates ICD-10 cancer codes C91 (lymphoid leukaemia), C92 (myeloid leukaemia), C93 (monocytic leukaemia), C94 (other leukaemias of specified cell type) and C95 (leukaemias of unspecified cell type).


Estimated number of new cases of leukaemia diagnosed in 2017

3,875 = Male icon PNG 2,358 males + Female icon PNG 1,517 females


leukaemia-percent-all-new-cases

Estimated % of all new cancer cases diagnosed in 2017

2.9%


Estimated number of deaths from leukaemia in 2017

1,840 = Male icon PNG 1,111 males + Female icon PNG 729 females


leukaemia-percent-all-deaths

Estimated % of all deaths from cancer in 2017

3.9%


59-in-100

Chance of surviving at least 5 years (2009–2013)

59%


crowd

People living with leukaemia at the end of 2012 (diagnosed in the 5 year period 2008 to 2012)

10,683


New cases of leukaemia

Leukaemia was the 8th most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2013. It is estimated that it will remain the 8th most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2017.

In 2013, there were 3,359 new cases of leukaemia diagnosed in Australia (2,045 males and 1,313 females). In 2017, it is estimated that 3,875 new cases of leukaemia will be diagnosed in Australia (2,358 males and 1,517 females).

In 2013, the age-standardised incidence rate was 13 cases per 100,000 persons (17 for males and 9.9 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age-standardised incidence rate will be 14 cases per 100,000 persons (18 for males and 10 for females). From age group 30–34 to age group 85+, the incidence rate of leukaemia is expected to generally increase with age (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual being diagnosed with leukaemia by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 59 (1 in 46 males and 1 in 79 females).

The number of new cases of leukaemia diagnosed increased from 1,480 in 1982 (856 males and 624 females) to 3,359 in 2013. Over the same period, the age-standardised incidence rate increased from 12 cases per 100,000 persons (15 for males and 9.0 for females) in 1982 to 13 cases per 100,000 persons in 2013 (Figure 2).

Deaths from leukaemia

In 2014, leukaemia was the 8th leading cause of cancer death in Australia. It is estimated that it will become the 9th most common cause of death from cancer in 2017.

In 2014, there were 1,706 deaths from leukaemia in Australia (961 males and 745 females). In 2017, it is estimated that this will increase to 1,840 deaths (1,111 males and 729 females).

In 2014, the age-standardised mortality rate was 6.3 deaths per 100,000 persons (7.9 for males and 4.9 for females). In 2017, it is estimated that the age-standardised mortality rate will be 6.2 deaths per 100,000 persons (8.2 for males and 4.5 for females). From age group 40–44 to age group 85+, the mortality rate of leukaemia is expected to generally increase with age (Figure 1).

In 2017, it is estimated that the risk of an individual dying from leukaemia by their 85th birthday will be 1 in 115 (1 in 86 males and 1 in 164 females).

The number of deaths from leukaemia increased from 721 (403 males and 318 females) in 1968 to 1,706 in 2014. Over the same period, the age-standardised mortality rate decreased from 7.5 deaths per 100,000 persons (9.1 for males and 6.2 for females) in 1968 to 6.3 deaths per 100,000 persons in 2014 (Figure 2).

Figure 1: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rates for leukaemia, by sex, 2017

leukaemia-fig1

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database and AIHW National Mortality Dataset (see source table 1).

Figure 2: Age-standardised incidence rates for leukaemia 1982–2013 and age-standardised mortality rates for leukaemia 1968–2014, by sex

leukaemia-fig2

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database and AIHW National Mortality Dataset (see source table 2).

Survival from leukaemia

In 2009–2013, individuals diagnosed with leukaemia had a 59% chance (60% for males and 59% for females) of surviving for 5 years compared to their counterparts in the general Australian population.

Between 1984–1988 and 2009–2013, 5-year relative survival from leukaemia improved from 40% to 59%.

Figure 3: 5-year relative survival from leukaemia, 1984–1988 to 2009–2013

leukaemia-fig3

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database (see source table 3).

Survivorship population for leukaemia

The survivorship population is measured using prevalence data. Prevalence refers to the number of people alive who have previously been diagnosed with cancer.

The prevalence for 1, 5 and 31 years given below are the number of people living with cancer at the end of 2012 who had been diagnosed in the preceding 1, 5 and 31 years respectively.

At the end of 2012, there were 2,788 people living who had been diagnosed with leukaemia that year, 10,683 people who had been diagnosed with leukaemia in the previous 5 years (from 2008 to 2012) and 25,365 people who had been diagnosed with leukaemia in the previous 31 years (from 1982 to 2012).


Source tables

Source table 1: Estimated age-specific incidence and mortality rates (per 100,000) for leukaemia, by sex, 2017
Age group (years) Incidence rate Mortality rate
Males Females Persons Males Females Persons
0–4 8.2 8.3 8.2 0.3 0.4 0.3
5–9 4.6 4.1 4.4 0.4 0.3 0.3
10–14 2.9 2.8 2.9 0.7 0.0 0.4
15–19 3.6 2.1 2.8 0.1 0.4 0.3
20–24 2.5 1.4 1.9 0.7 0.2 0.5
25–29 2.6 1.3 2.0 0.8 0.8 0.8
30–34 2.9 2.2 2.5 0.6 0.5 0.5
35–39 4.4 3.6 4.0 0.6 1.2 0.9
40–44 7.8 4.2 6.0 1.2 1.0 1.1
45–49 9.4 7.0 8.2 1.4 1.9 1.7
50–54 14.8 9.9 12.3 2.5 2.2 2.3
55–59 21.2 12.1 16.6 5.0 4.2 4.6
60–64 35.0 19.1 26.9 10.0 6.1 8.0
65–69 46.7 25.1 35.9 21.5 12.2 16.8
70–74 64.6 35.6 49.8 33.9 18.2 25.9
75–79 86.8 47.7 66.1 61.8 32.6 46.4
80–84 116.0 53.8 80.9 82.3 48.2 63.1
85+ 144.0 66.1 93.8 118.6 80.5 94.2
Source table 2: Age-standardised incidence rates (per 100,000) for leukaemia 1982–2013 and age-standardised mortality rates (per 100,000) for leukaemia 1968–2014, by sex.
Year Incidence rate Mortality rate
Males Females Persons Males Females Persons
1968 . . . . . . 9.1 6.2 7.5
1969 . . . . . . 8.2 5.6 6.8
1970 . . . . . . 9.2 5.7 7.2
1971 . . . . . . 9.9 5.1 7.1
1972 . . . . . . 9.5 5.9 7.4
1973 . . . . . . 9.7 5.7 7.3
1974 . . . . . . 9.4 5.9 7.3
1975 . . . . . . 9.3 5.6 7.0
1976 . . . . . . 9.8 5.8 7.3
1977 . . . . . . 9.7 5.8 7.4
1978 . . . . . . 10.0 5.3 7.2
1979 . . . . . . 9.1 5.7 7.2
1980 . . . . . . 10.9 6.6 8.3
1981 . . . . . . 9.8 6.0 7.6
1982 15.4 9.0 11.8 10.0 6.5 8.0
1983 15.2 9.2 11.8 9.8 6.3 7.7
1984 16.7 9.4 12.4 10.7 5.8 7.7
1985 16.2 9.6 12.4 11.0 6.4 8.2
1986 15.9 9.7 12.4 10.0 5.8 7.5
1987 16.0 9.7 12.4 9.8 6.1 7.6
1988 17.5 9.6 12.9 10.3 5.8 7.6
1989 16.7 9.8 12.7 10.4 5.7 7.7
1990 17.8 10.0 13.3 9.7 5.5 7.2
1991 17.4 10.0 13.2 9.8 6.1 7.6
1992 17.5 10.2 13.4 9.9 6.3 7.8
1993 17.0 10.1 13.0 10.0 6.2 7.7
1994 17.6 11.0 13.9 10.6 6.0 7.9
1995 16.5 10.7 13.2 10.2 5.8 7.7
1996 17.5 10.5 13.6 10.6 5.7 7.8
1997 16.7 9.7 12.7 9.2 5.5 7.1
1998 16.9 10.5 13.4 9.9 5.6 7.5
1999 17.8 11.1 14.1 9.6 5.8 7.5
2000 18.0 10.3 13.8 9.7 5.4 7.3
2001 18.0 10.7 14.0 9.3 5.4 7.1
2002 18.8 11.1 14.5 9.9 5.3 7.3
2003 18.0 11.1 14.2 8.9 5.2 6.9
2004 19.5 11.2 14.9 9.3 5.3 7.0
2005 18.3 10.2 13.9 8.7 5.2 6.7
2006 17.7 10.9 14.0 8.9 5.1 6.8
2007 18.6 10.1 14.0 9.1 4.7 6.6
2008 18.5 10.8 14.3 8.8 4.7 6.5
2009 17.7 10.5 13.8 9.4 4.8 6.8
2010 17.7 10.6 13.9 8.8 5.0 6.7
2011 18.1 11.1 14.3 8.4 5.0 6.5
2012 17.6 10.7 13.8 8.5 5.0 6.5
2013 17.1 9.9 13.2 8.1 4.7 6.2
2014 . . . . . . 7.9 4.9 6.3
Source table 3: 5-year relative survival from leukaemia, by sex, 1984–1988 to 2009–2013
Year Males Females Persons
1984–1988 39.7 39.4 39.6
1989–1993 42.6 42.6 42.7
1994–1998 44.0 44.1 44.0
1999–2003 49.6 49.0 49.4
2004–2008 55.1 55.1 55.1
2009–2013 59.8 58.9 59.5

Data notes

International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD-10)

Cancer is classified by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Version 10 (ICD-10). This is a statistical classification, published by the World Health Organization, in which each morbid condition is assigned a unique code according to established criteria.

Estimations

Future estimations for incidence and mortality are a mathematical extrapolation of past trends. They assume that the most recent trends will continue into the future, and are intended to illustrate future changes that might reasonably be expected to occur if the stated assumptions continue to apply over the estimated period. Actual future cancer incidence and mortality rates may vary from these estimations. For instance, new screening programs may increase the detection of new cancer cases; new vaccination programs may decrease the risk of developing cancer; and improvements in treatment options may decrease mortality rates.

Incidence

Cancer incidence indicates the number of new cancers diagnosed during a specified time period (usually one year).

The 2013 national incidence counts include estimates for NSW because the actual data were not available. Note that actual data for the Australian Capital Territory do not include cases identified from death certificates.

The 2017 estimates are based on 2004–13 incidence data. Due to rounding of these estimates, male and female incidence may not sum to person incidence.

Mortality

Cancer mortality refers to the number of deaths occurring during a specified time period (usually one year) for which the underlying cause of death is cancer.
The 2017 estimates are based on mortality data up to 2013. Joinpoint analysis was used on the longest time series of age-standardised rates available to determine the starting year of the most recent trend.

Prevalence

Prevalence of cancer refers to the number of people alive with a prior diagnosis of cancer at a given time. It is distinct from incidence, which is the number of new cancers diagnosed within a given period of time. The longest period for which it is possible to calculate prevalence using the available national data (from 1982 to 2013) is currently 31 years so this is used to provide an estimate of the ‘total’ prevalence of cancer as at the end of 2013, noting that people diagnosed with cancer before 1982 aren’t included.

Age standardised rates

Incidence and mortality rates expressed per 100,000 population are age-standardised to the Australian population as at 30 June 2001.