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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

This line chart presents the estimated age-specific incidence (solid line) and mortality (dashed line) rates of cancer name for males (blue), females (purple) and persons (green) in 2017. The age-specific incidence and mortality rates are shown on the primary (left) y-axis, with 5-year age groups from ages 0–4 to 85+ shown on the x-axis.

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database and AIHW National Mortality Dataset (see Cancer compendium data source table 9).

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

This line chart presents the estimated age-standardised incidence (solid line) and mortality (dashed line) rates (per 100,000) of cancer name for males (blue), females (purple) and persons (green) over the period 1982–2013 for incidence and 1968–2014 for mortality. The age standardised incidence and mortality rates, expressed per 100,000 persons, are shown on the primary (left) y-axis. Years from 1968 to 2014 are presented on the x-axis.

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database and AIHW National Mortality Dataset (see Cancer compendium data source table 10 ).

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%.

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

This line chart presents 5-year relative survival at diagnosis for cancer name by males, females and persons over the period 1984–1988 to 2009–2013. The percentage of survival is presented on the y-axis.

Source: AIHW analysis of the Australian Cancer Database (see Cancer compendium data source table 11).

Survivorship population from 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).