Survival statistics for chronic lymphocytic leukemia

Last medical review:

Survival statistics for cancer 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.

For chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), survival can be estimated by as net survival. It can also be estimated as overall survival using the CLL International Prognostic Index (CLL-IPI).

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 CLL is 86%. This means that, on average, about 86% of people diagnosed with CLL will live for at least 5 years.

Overall survival

Overall survival is the percentage of people with a certain type of cancer who are expected to be alive at a specified period of time after their diagnosis.

Risk category CLL-IPI risk score 5-year overall survival
Low 0 to 1 93%
Intermediate 2 to 3 79%
High 4 to 6 63%
Very high 7 to 10 23%

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. Prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain aspects of the cancer, such whether there are gene mutations like TP53 or IGHV
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds 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

  • Versha Banerji, MD, FRCPC
  • Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2021. Canadian Cancer Society; 2021.
  • Statistics Canada. Table 13-10-0160-01 Age-standardized five-year net survival estimates for primary sites of cancer, by sex, three years combined .
  • International CLL-IPI working group. An international prognostic index for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL-IPI): a meta-analysis of individual patient data. Lancet Oncology. 2016: 17(6):779–790.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

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