Descriptive Data Incidence

In contrast to children, leukemia accounts for a very small proportion of malignancy in adults, where epithelial cancers of the prostate, breast, lung, and colon predominate. AML is much more common in adults than ALL, with the incidence rising from about 1 case/100,000 under the age of 50, to nearly 10 cases/100,000 over the age of 80 years.3 In contrast, the incidence of ALL is typically less than 2 cases/million under the age of 50, rising to about 2 cases/100,000. Internationally, the incidence patterns of adult AML are somewhat similar to the patterns observed in children with highest rates observed in New Zealand (non-Maori), Denmark, Australia, and U.S. Whites; lowest rates are seen in India, China, and Colombia.1 For adult ALL, highest rates are reported in Australia, New Zealand (non-Maori), and Spain; low rates are found in U.S. Blacks, Israel (Jews), and India.

Described below are some of the more common risk factors that have been explored with respect to adult leukemia.

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