Prognosis and survival for childhood leukemia

If your child has leukemia, you will have questions about their prognosis. A prognosis is the doctor’s best estimate of how cancer will affect someone and how well it will respond to treatment. Prognosis and survival depend on many factors. Only a doctor familiar with your child’s medical history, the type and subtype and other features of the leukemia, the treatments chosen and the response to treatment can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.

A prognostic factor is an aspect of the leukemia or a characteristic of the child that the doctor will consider when making a prognosis. A predictive factor influences how the leukemia will respond to a certain treatment. Prognostic and predictive factors are often discussed together. They both play a part in deciding on a treatment plan and prognosis.

Prognostic factors vary according to the type of leukemia. For childhood leukemia, certain prognostic factors are used to give the cancer a level of risk or risk group. The risk group includes the likelihood that cancer will not respond to treatment or will come back after treatment. Doctors use this information to guide treatment.

Find out more about prognostic factors for childhood ALL, prognostic factors for childhood AML, risk groups for childhood ALL and risk groups for childhood AML.

Expert review and references

  • American Cancer Society. Childhood leukemia. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society; 2007.
  • Margolin, J.F., Steuber, C.P. and Poplack, D.G . Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Pizzo, P. A. & Poplack, D. G. (Eds.). Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2006: 19:pp. 538-590.

Prognosis and survival for childhood ALL

Prognosis and survival of childhood acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) depend on the age of the child. Learn about prognosis and survival for ALL.

Prognosis and survival for childhood AML

Prognosis and survival of childhood acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) depend on the age of the child. Learn about prognosis and survival for AML.

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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