Skip to content

    Leukemia & Lymphoma

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Kids With Leukemia Doing Better

    By
    WebMD Health News
    Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD

    Oct. 5, 2001 -- New treatments for childhood leukemia are having a dramatic effect on survival, and a new look at the numbers shows that these kids are doing much better than once believed.

    Old estimates said that no more than two out of three kids with leukemia would live for at least 15 years after diagnosis. The new figures show that nearly three in four kids will survive for at least 15 years after being told they have leukemia.

    Traditional ways of looking at childhood leukemia didn't do a good enough job of separating out kids getting the latest treatments from those getting older treatments, says Herman Brenner, MD, MPH, of the German Center for Research on Aging in Heidelberg, Germany. His team has come up with a better way to do the numbers, which focuses on kids in the most recent time group.

    Brenner's team used the new method to look at one of the world's largest cancer databases. The German Childhood Cancer Registry has information on some 13 million children. The researchers analyzed survival rates for over 8,000 kids up to 14 years old who had leukemia between 1981 and 1998.

    Here's what they found:

    Overall Childhood Leukemia

    5 years

    10 years

    15 years

    Current survival rate

    81%

    77%

    73%

    Old survival rate

    76.5%-78.6%

    67.7%-72%

    62.5%-66.7%

    Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia

    5 years

    10 years

    15 years

    Current survival rate

    86%

    81%

    77%

    Old survival rate

    83.6%-84.7%

    73.4%-78%

    68.8%-72.8%

    Acute Nonlymphocytic Leukemia

    5 years

    10 years

    15 years

    Current survival rate

    59%

    59%

    57%

    Old survival rate

    44.2%-51.2%

    45%-46.8%

    36.2%-42.1%

    "Improvements in long-term survival rates of children with leukemia achieved by the end of the second millennium are considerably greater than has been reported previously," Brenner and co-workers conclude. "This may help to relieve undue anxiety and depression among children with leukemia and their families."

    Today on WebMD

    stem cells
    What are they and why do we need them?
    Lung cancer xray
    See it in pictures, plus read the facts.
     
    sauteed cherry tomatoes
    Fight cancer one plate at a time.
    Ovarian cancer illustration
    Do you know the symptoms?
     
    Vitamin D
    SLIDESHOW
    New Treatments For Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma
    FEATURE
     
    Lifestyle Tips for Depression Slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Pets Improve Your Health
    SLIDESHOW