Today I am going to focus on the key facts about Leukaemia – one of the most common types of childhood cancer.
What is Leukaemia?
Leukaemia is cancer of the white blood cells and bone marrow. There are four main types:
*Acute myeloid (AML)
*Acute lymphoblastic (ALL)
*Chronic myeloid (CML)
*Chronic lymphocytic (CLL)
AML and ALL account for around a third of all UK cases of leukaemia. One in every six cases of leukaemia in the UK are either CML and CLL. A third of all childhood cancer cases in the UK are leukaemia. Overal Leukaemia is the tenth most common cancer type in the UK, with 2% of cancers being this type. Around twenty three people are diagnosed with leukaemia every day. Although leukaemia is the most common cancer type in children, around 9/10 cases are found in adults.
Leukaemia Survival and Mortality Rates:
Survival rates for leukaemia are fairly good with around 40% of people surviving beyond five years after their diagnosis. Survival rates have tripled in the last four decades and people diagnosed with this cancer type are four times as likely to survive longer then ten years after diagnosis then they were in the 1970’s. More then eight out of ten children diagnosed with leukaemia go on to survive longer then five years after diagnosis whereas in the 1970’s it was less then one in ten children.
Leukaemia is the ninth most common cause of death from cancer in the UK. Around twelve people in the UK with leukaemia die everyday with around four out of five of those deaths are people over the age of sixty.
*Around 9% of leukaemia cases are linked to exposure to radiation
*Smoking is the cause of around 6% of leukaemia cases in the UK and smoking increases your risk of myeloid leukaemia
*Working in the rubber protection industry and being exposed to the chemicals benzene and formaldehyde increase your risk of developing leukarmia
*Some types of radiotherapy and chemotherapy to treat cancer can then increase your risk of developing leukaemia.
*Children with Down ’s syndrome have a greater risk of developing leukaemia.
These are just a few of the key facts about this type of cancer. I will be following up with some more information about the various types of leukaemia. In the meantime, please visit www.cancerresearchuk.org for more information.