Descriptive Epidemiology

CML is a rare disease, roughly half more common in males than females. It remarkably shows little variation worldwide. Table 2-1 shows that for most countries male standardized rates are around 1 per 100,000 per year and females roughly 0.6/0.7. There is a suggestion that African and U.S. Blacks have slightly higher rates. New Zealand Maoris show the highest rates but based on small case numbers. This might be in line with the parallel observation that they also have the highest rates worldwide of acute myeloid leukemia.1

Table 2-2 shows the age-specific incidence for the United Kingdom, but is typical of many countries. The condition is found at all ages but it is very rare under the age of 40; thereafter, rates increase from roughly 1 per 100,000 per year for both sexes to a maximum of 4 for males and 2 for females. This very slight increase with age is in contrast to most other leukemias.

The lack of major variations in ethnic rates is coupled with the lack of any local geographic variation in the United King-dom3 and with little evidence of case clustering with the exception of one study from Israel.8 Two studies suggest a decline in incidence in recent years in the United States6 and in the United Kingdom.7 There is no evidence of seasonality of occurrence.

The descriptive epidemiology affords little by way of clues to help understand the etiology of the condition.

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