Survival statistics for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma

Survival statistics for childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. These statistics are based on the experience of groups of children and cannot be used to predict a particular child’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your child’s doctor can explain the statistics for childhood NHL and what they mean for your child.

Observed survival

Observed survival is also called overall survival. It is the percentage of children with a certain type of cancer who are expected to live for at least a specified period of time after their diagnosis. Doctors often use the observed survival rate when they talk about a prognosis.

The 5-year observed survival for NHL in children 0 to 14 years of age is 89%. This means that, on average, 89% of children diagnosed with NHL are expected to live at least 5 years after their diagnosis.

Observed survival does not consider the cause of death. But of the 11% of children who don’t survive 5 years, most die from the cancer rather than from other causes.

Survival by type

Survival varies with each type of childhood NHL as well as by stage.

Generally, the earlier childhood NHL is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different types and stages of NHL in children. The following information comes from a variety of sources. It may include statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Childhood NHL survival

Type of childhood NHL


5-year observed survival

Burkitt lymphoma

1 and 2

90% to 95%

3 and 4

70% to 90%

lymphoblastic lymphoma

1 and 2

85% to 90%

3 and 4

80% to 90%

diffuse large B-cell lymphoma

1 and 2

90% to 95%

3 and 4

80% to 90%

anaplastic large cell lymphoma

1 and 2


3 and 4

60% to 75%

Questions about survival

Talk to your child’s doctor about their prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • the child’s health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • 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

  • American Cancer Society. Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in Children Early Detection, Diagnosis and Staging. 2017.
  • Canadian Cancer Statistics Advisory Committee. Canadian Cancer Statistics 2019 . Toronto, ON : Canadian Cancer Society; 2019:
  • Gross TG & Perkins SL . Malignant non-Hodgkin lymphomas in children. Pizzo, P. A. & Poplack, D. G. (Eds.). Principles and Practice of Pediatric Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2011: 23:pp. 663-682.
  • Johnston JM. Pediatric Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. 2018.
  • National Cancer Institute. Childhood non-Hodgkin lymphoma treatment (PDQ®) health professional version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute; 2014:
  • National Cancer Institute. Childhood Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2018.
  • Truong TH, Weitzman, S, Arceci RJ . Non-Hodgkin lymphoma of childhood. Wiernik PH, Goldman JM, Dutcher JP & Kyle RA (eds.). Neoplastic Diseases of the Blood. 5th ed. Springer; 2013: 48: pp. 1049-1072.