From the Journals

A global snapshot of leukemia incidence



Leukemia incidence varies considerably by geography and subtype, according to an analysis of World Health Organization cancer databases.

Incidence also is generally higher in males, with a global male to female ratio of 1.4. For men, the highest regional leukemia rate – estimated at 11.3 per 100,000 population for 2012 – was found in Australia and New Zealand, with northern America (the United States and Canada) next at 10.5 per 100,000. Australia/New Zealand and northern America had the highest rate for women at 7.2 per 100,000, followed by western Europe and northern Europe at 6.0 per 100,000, reported Adalberto Miranda-Filho, PhD, of the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer in Lyon, France, and his associates.

Estimated age-standardized incidence of leukemia, 2012

The lowest regional rates for women were found in western Africa (1.2 per 100,000), middle Africa (1.8), and Micronesia/Polynesia (2.1). For men, leukemia incidence was lowest in western Africa (1.4 per 100,000), middle Africa (2.6), and south-central Asia (3.4), according to data from the WHO’s GLOBOCAN database. The report was published in The Lancet Haematology.

Estimates for leukemia subtypes in 2003-2007 – calculated for 54 countries, not regions – also showed a great deal of variation. For acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Ecuador had the highest rates for both males (2.8 per 100,000) and females (3.3), with high rates seen in Costa Rica, Columbia, and Cyprus. Rates in the United States were near the top: 2.1 for males and 1.6 for females. Rates were lowest for men in Jamaica (0.4) and Serbia (0.6) and for women in India (0.5) and Serbia and Cuba (0.6), Dr. Miranda-Filho and his associates said.

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