What is the life expectancy and prognosis for a leukemia diagnosis?


Quick Answer

The average life expectancy for a patient diagnosed with leukemia is close to the average life expectancy of someone without leukemia — around 75 years. This is a drastic improvement from the 3-7 years after diagnosis expected prior to new treatments being found, according to the National CML Society.

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Full Answer

The average life expectancy for most people across the country is 78.24 years, according to reports by the World Bank from the National CML Society. It estimates about 70,000 people in the United States were living with CML, or chronic myelogenous leukemia, in 2010.

Patients with CML are often diagnosed after they've had the disease for a while because they may be presenting without symptoms. Some simply experience fatigue or present with an enlarged spleen, and so go undiagnosed for a number of years in some cases. CML is often treated with a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor, or TKI, which can keep CML from progressing indefinitely, says the National CML Society.

AML, or acute myelogenous leukemia, differs from CML. There are many types of AML with different rates of life expectancy and prognoses, says Cancer.org. It is usually treated with chemotherapy or transplants if the cancer does not go into remission, but treatments can vary depending on the subtype of AML.

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