Leukemia: Facts & Figures

Incidence in Minnesota:

The overall leukemia incidence rate in Minnesota has increased slightly since 1988, while mortality has decreased somewhat. As with national data, incidence rates are consistently higher in males than in females. Leukemia is the eighth (for males) and ninth (for females) leading type of cancer in Minnesota. From 2011 to 2013, an average of 595 cases of leukemia in males and 370 cases of leukemia in females were diagnosed in Minnesota residents each year.

Leukemia in Minnesota

Age-adjusted rate of new leukemia cases.
Age-adjusted rate of new leukemia cases.

The rate of leukemia is about 1.7 times higher among males than females. Incidence increased by less than 1% per year since 1988 for both sexes combined, with similar increases for each sex alone. Most recently, the age-adjusted incidence rate of leukemia was 20.5 new cases per 100,000 males and 12.0 new cases per 100,000 females.


Leukemia in Minnesota, by age

Rate of new leukemia cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.
Rate of new leukemia cases, aggregated from 2004 to 2013.

The rate of leukemia increases with age, with the exception of a slightly higher rate of leukemia among children less than 5 years of age. The rate of leukemia is highest among males aged 85 years and older.

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is a cancer of the cells of blood-forming tissues, including the lymphatic system and bone marrow. Bone marrow is where blood cells are formed. Blood is made up of a number of different cells including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and plasma. White blood cells are called leukocytes. In a person with leukemia, large amounts of abnormal white blood cells are produced. They do not function well and may crowd out normal cells.

This page covers all types of leukemia combined. The two most common subtypes of leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), are presented individually on their own pages, but also contribute to the data presented here.

While most cases of leukemia occur in adults, it is the most common cancer diagnosed in children. This page focuses on data and measures for leukemia in all ages. Measures for childhood leukemia can be found at Childhood Cancers.

What are the risk factors for leukemia?

The risk factors for leukemia differ by type and are covered on the pages for a specific type of leukemia. See AML and CLL in adults for more information on risk factors for specific types of leukemia.

How can leukemia be prevented?

See AML and CLL in adults for more information on prevention of these specific types of leukemia.