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Survival Rates Improve for Kids With Blood Cancers

Advancements in treatment likely behind continued upswing, study concludes

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 10, 2008 (HealthDay News) -- In the United States, 5- and 10-year survival rates continue to improve for children younger than age 15 diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia, or non Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), says a new study.

Advances in treatment for these diseases have led to increased long-term survival for patients. But most population-based studies include survival data from patients diagnosed in the mid 1990s or before and, therefore, may not reflect current outcomes, according to background information in the study.

In order to assess current trends, researchers compared 5- and 10-year survival estimates for patients diagnosed in 1990-94, 1995-99, and 2000-04, and also developed methods to predict survival in patients diagnosed in 2005-09.

The researchers found that from 1990-94 and 2000-04, 5- and 10-year survival increased from: 80.2 percent to 87.5 percent and from 73.4 percent to 83.8 percent, respectively, for patients with ALL; from 41.9 percent to 59.9 percent and from 38.7 percent to 59.1 percent, respectively, for patients with acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia; and from 76.6 percent to 87.7 percent and from 73.0 percent to 86.9 percent, respectively, for patients with NHL.

For children diagnosed in 2005, the estimated 10-year survival rate was 88.0 percent for ALL patients, 63.9 percent for patients with acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia, and 90.6 percent for NHL patients.

"Our period analysis revealed that survival after diagnosis with childhood hematologic malignancies has improved greatly over the past decade," the study authors concluded. "Improvements in survival in childhood hematologic malignancies are most likely attributable to changes in how these diseases are treated."

The study was published in the Sept. 9 online issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

More information

You can learn more about these diseases from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

SOURCE: Journal of the National Cancer Institute, news release, Sept. 8, 2008
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