Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
What Is the Prognosis?
The improvement in survival for childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia over the past 35 years is one of the great success stories of cancer treatment. In the 1960s, less than 5 percent of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia survived for more than five years. Today, approximately 85 percent of children with acute lymphocytic leukemia live 5 years or more.
The chance of survival for children with ALL is dependent upon a number of factors. The most important factor is receiving optimal care at a center experienced in the treatment of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia. Even with optimal care, however, some children with ALL are much more difficult to treat successfully than others. It is also now clear that the patient's subtype of ALL has a powerful impact on survival.
The prognosis (chance of recovery) for acute lymphocytic leukemia will depend on:
- The age of the patient
- Whether the cancer has spread to the brain or spinal cord
- Whether the Philadelphia chromosome is present
- Whether the cancer has been treated before or has recurred (come back).
(Click Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Death Statistics for more information.)
Key information about acute lymphocytic leukemia includes:
- Acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) is a type of cancer in which the bone marrow makes too many lymphocytes (a type of white blood cell).
- With the exception of prenatal exposure to x-rays and specific genetic syndromes, such as Down syndrome, little is known about the causes of and risk factors for acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- Tests that examine the blood and bone marrow are used to detect and diagnose acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- Certain factors affect prognosis and treatment options for acute lymphocytic leukemia.
- The American Cancer Society estimated that 3,970 people in the United States (2,180 men and 1,790 women) would be diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia in 2005.
(Click Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia Statistics for more ALL statistics.)