Survival statistics for acute myeloid leukemia

Last medical review:

Survival statistics for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain these statistics and what they mean to you.

Net survival

Net survival represents the probability (chance) of surviving cancer in the absence of other causes of death. It is used to give an estimate of the percentage of people who will survive cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year net survival for all subtypes of AML is 21%. This means that, on average, about 21% of people diagnosed with AML will live for at least 5 years.

Net survival by age group

The net survival for AML varies by age group.

AML net survival by age group
Age group 5-year net survival
15 to 44 62%
45 to 54 42%
55 to 64 25%
65 to 74 10%
over 74 2%
Note: Adapted from Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0158-01. Age-specific 5-year net survival estimates for primary sites of cancer, by sex, 3 years combined.

Survival for acute promyelocytic leukemia

Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a subtype of AML that is often treated very successfully. This success is reflected in the survival statistics. About 90% of people diagnosed with APL reach a complete remission. About 70% to 90% of people with APL who reach remission have long-term survival, and doctors consider them to be cured.

Questions about survival

If you have AML, talk to your doctor about your prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your medical history
  • type of cancer
  • stage
  • characteristics of the cancer
  • treatments chosen
  • response to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

Expert review and references

  • John Storring, MD, CM
  • Robert Turner, MD, FRCPC