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Advocacy > Lymphoma  Statistics

Last update: 06/04/2014  

In the News Frequently Asked: Statistics versus Prognosis | Lymphoma: Incidence, Prevalence & Mortality | Cancer statistics
Blood Cancers Facts | NHL Incidence & Mortality | NHL Trends - a snapshot
Comparing NHL and AIDS Statistics | Childhood Lymphomas

In the News:

Haematologica 2013:
Actual prognosis during follow-up for B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivors in the Netherlands. http://1.usa.gov/16gTrzF

Five-year conditional relative survival was computed for every additional year of survival up to 16 years after diagnosis, according to entity, grade, gender, age, and Ann Arbor stage. The prognosis for indolent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivors improved slightly with each additional year survived up to 91%. For patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin lymphoma conditional relative survival improved strongly during the first year after diagnosis (from 48% to 68%) and gradually thereafter to 93% after 16 years.

Full text: http://www.haematologica.org.full.pdf

Table 2: Conditional survival for patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the Netherlands 1989-2008 (n=54,015)
PAL: SEER-based Lymphoma Subtype Statistics

Trends - Annals of Oncology: Diverging trends in incidence and mortality, and improved survival of NHL, in the Netherlands, 1989–2007

Statistics versus Prognosis

Statistics should not be confused with predictions or prognosis. The purpose of statistics is to find the average results and trends in large groups.  Prognosis is based in part on statistics but also on your unique circumstance, such as your age, fitness, and response to therapy. 

Statistics cannot predict what will happen to you or a loved one.

The term '5 year survival' relates to the proportion of people in research studies who were still alive 5 years after diagnosis. However, patients who live 6, 10, or even 30 years after diagnosis are also in this group.

Importantly, mortality events includes death from any cause. Therefore, survival calculations for the group can be skewed if the mean age of the affected population is above middle age.

For example: What is the mean survival for anyone at age 65?

Also, each year a patient survives lymphoma the expected 5 year survival increases. This is called the Conditional 5-Year Relative Survival Rate.

... Like in a marathon, those who have completed some miles do better, on average, than all runners who entered the event. Most statistics are based on all runners in the race.

Further, statistics take time to compile and cannot show the influence of new therapies until many years later - I think the latency is about 5 years.

As noted, overall survival for groups is calculated based on death from any cause, and it is strongly influenced by the average age at diagnosis.  For example, for follicular lymphomas, a median OS of 8 to 10 years is often cited and the average age at diagnosis is about 65 years. However, a recent report from Stanford, based on patients with a median age of 49, the OS was reported to be 18 years.

Also see Prognostic Indicators and Jay Gould's
 encouraging essay: The Median isn't the Message

Median age at diagnosis for lymphoma:

for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: 67 yrs of age;
for Hodgkin's: 37 yrs of age
Source: seer.cancer.gov pdf

Prevalence of lymphoma:

"This includes any person alive on January 1, 2007 who had been diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at any point prior to January 1, 2007 and includes persons with active disease and those who are cured of their disease."

Non-Hodgkins: "On January 1, 2007, in the United States there were approximately 438,325 men and women alive who had a history of non-Hodgkin lymphoma -- 226,855 men and 211,470 women SEER

Hodgkins: "On January 1, 2007, in the United States there were approximately 164,273 men and women alive who had a history of Hodgkin lymphoma -- 84,583 men and 79,690 women. "  SEER

CLL/ SLL:  "101,374"  SEER

Changing prevalence of indolent lymphoid malignancies among the elderly  ASCO 2006

Background: Reported changes in incidence rates and improved survival rates among patients with common indolent B-cell lymphoid malignancies have potential implications for increased disease burden among the elderly.

Conclusions: Increased FL incidence and increased survival rates have resulted in a growing disease burden among the elderly over the last decade; the prevalence of CLL/SLL has remained static.

Follicular lymphoma: median survival for different molecular subtypes

"Individual genes that predicted the length of survival were grouped into gene-expression signatures on the basis of their expression in the training set, and two such signatures were used to construct a survival predictor. The two signatures allowed patients with specimens in the test set to be divided into four quartiles with widely disparate median lengths of survival (13.6, 11.1, 10.8, and 3.9 years), independently of clinical prognostic variables. Flow cytometry showed that these signatures reflected gene expression by nonmalignant tumor-infiltrating immune cells. "  NEJM.org  

Good News: Improved survival of follicular lymphoma patients in the surveillance, 
epidemiology, and end-results (SEER) program. ASCO 2004 ~ Abstract No: 6578

Costs not shown in statistics

The physical and emotional pain, the side effects of repeated treatment, the decreased ability to be productive, the loss of income and life goals, the stress on family and loved ones, and the reduced ability to contribute fully to our communities. 

"Not every thing that counts, can be counted; 
not everything that can be counted counts"  ~ Albert Einstein


Lymphoma Statistics in the United States

Incidence | Prevalence | Mortality | Treatment |
Causes of Death | Lifetime Risk Blood Cancers

Incidence - new cases in a given year 
(can be expressed as a rate - often per 100,000.)


Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma is the second fastest rising cancer in incidence and death rates in the United States.


"Lymphoma is increasing faster than any other cancer except melanoma. Unlike melanoma, which can be 
prevented by staying out of the sun, and unlike lung cancer and smoking, the causes of lymphoma are 
complex and largely unknown." - Neil Ruzic (Congressional testimony)


Epidemic growth: There has been a 2-fold rise in incidence rate (8/100,000 to 16/100,000)  between 1973 and 1995,  and has increased 4% annually. The increase, however, has leveled off in the last five years.


Each day approximately 170 Americans are diagnosed with lymphoma. 


In 2003, it’s estimated that 61,000 new cases of lymphoma will be diagnosed.
Gender: Incidence of Lymphoma is more common in males (13,800 males vs. 12,500 female).


Comparing incidence and mortality of NHL in geographic areas - other countries -
Source: http://info.cancerresearchuk.org/cancerstats/nhl/incidence/ 


Prevalence - all cases in a given year


Approximately 500,000 people in the United States are living with Lymphoma.


Lymphoma is the most commonly occurring blood cancer, and is the third most common childhood cancer. 


Generally, the shorter the survival the lower the prevalence in relation to incidence.  For lymphoma the ratio of incidence (61,000) to prevalence (500,000) indicates that treatment is effective


Survival & Mortality - 
Counting who die of disease in a specific period of time.


Each year, approximately 27,600 deaths are attributed to lymphoma.


Each day, approximately 75 people die of the lymphoma.


The five-year relative survival rate for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma patients has 
risen from 31% in 1960 to 52% in 2001. - LLS  


Treatment of Lymphomas


Approximately 45% of patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas can be cured with standard treatments, and almost all indolent lymphomas remain incurable, unless diagnosed early and treated with radiotherapy when the disease is localized. 


Approximately 50% of patients with stage I indolent follicular lymphoma, and one quarter with stage II disease, can be cured with radiotherapy.


We have calculated that approximately 37% of Lymphomas are curable with standard therapies.


The less-common Hodgkin’s lymphoma is curable about 80% of the time.


* The aggressive type of NHL has a shorter natural history, but approximately 40-50% of patients can be cured with combination chemotherapy.


** Current estimates of median survival for indolent follicular lymphoma, the most common form of NHL, range from 8 to 10 years. Approximately 50% of patients with stage I indolent follicular lymphoma, and one quarter with stage II disease, can be cured with radiotherapy, but the overwhelming majority of patients are diagnosed with advanced disease. 

The survival for indolent lymphomas is dependant on cell type and other prognostic indicators. It will take time to determine if new treatments will improve overall survival, but there are reasons to be encouraged.


Causes of Death


Ten-year survey of incidence of infection as a cause of death in hematologic malignancies: study of 90 autopsied cases. Acta Haematol. 1995;93(1):25-30. PMID: 7725846 | Related articles


Causes of death in children diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma between 1974 and 1985.
Arch Dis Child. 1992 Nov;67(11):1378-83. PMID: 1471892 | Related articles


Comparing Lifetime Risk (Percent) for Blood Cancers:


Men Women
NHL  HD  Leukemia  CLL MM NHL  HD  Leukemia  CLL MM
All races 2.18 0.24 1.50 0.53 0.70 1.82 0.19 1.07 0.33 0.55
White 2.32 0.25 1.61 0.59 0.68 1.94 0.21 1.14 0.35 0.51
Blacks 1.25 0.21 0.87 0.26 0.97 1.06 0.15 0.79 0.20 0.93

Source: SEER CSR report 1975-2002

NOTE: For blood cancers, risk are generally higher in white men. A notable exception to the risk of Multiple myeloma in black men and women.

Comparing age-adjusted incidence rates:

Leukemias: 12.3 per 100,000 men and women per year *  Lifetime risk: 
Lymphomas: 22.0 per 100,000 men and women per year.**

* http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/leuks.html?statfacts_page=leuks.html&x=9&y=19 
** http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/lymph.html?statfacts_page=lymph.html&x=16&y=17 

"It is estimated that 44,240 men and women (24,800 men and 19,440 women) will be diagnosed with and 21,790 men and women will die of leukemia in 2007"

"It is estimated that 71,380 men and women (38,670 men and 32,710 women) will be diagnosed with and 19,730 men and women will die of lymphoma in 2007"

NOTE: CLL is classified by SEER as a leukemia, but many experts consider it a lymphoma.



County-based statistics - dsf.health.state.pa.us/


New York State


"The incidence rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma increased by 76% for males and 49% for females between 1975 and 1994. 


The mortality rate of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma has steadily increased for males (19%) and females (17%) over the same period." - Roswell Park Cancer Inst.


New York State Cancer Registry  -  health.state.ny.us/nysdoh 

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Staten Island


"The study also found statistically significant elevations of 10 to 55% in the incidence of the following cancers on Staten Island as a whole: pharynx, colon, lung, bladder, larynx in men; and pharynx, colon, lung, breast, bladder, lymphoma in women."


New York State Cancer Registry – Staten Island (Richmond) - Health.state.ny.us/nysdoh 

For more information, see - Incidence of Lymphoma in Staten Island & New York City

Statistics from SEER, ACS


New Cases per year

(Deaths per year )

(All cases)

5/10/15 year survival estimates





Varies widely by type and stage. 

New cases have risen, but mortality has fallen.









varies significantly by subtype






83% /  74% / 66%

CLL is classified as a lymphoma by many specialists, but as a leukemia by SEER






Incidence and survival data for the subtypes of lymphoma, such as follicular, MALT, MCL, DLBCL can be very different than the overall averages.  

Statistics updates for lymphoma: 

Detailed Statistics for NHL
by subtypes:  Tables 19.23 through 19.28
Detailed Statistics for Hodgkins
by subtypes: Tables 9.20 through 9.24
bullet ACS 2010 Estimates on New Cases (left columns) and
mortality (right columns), men and women respectively Cancer.org  pdf

click to enlarge


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Cancer Statistics

Resources to locate statistics on cancer

"The magnitude of the human and economic costs of cancer in the United States is enormous. At current rates, invasive cancer will be diagnosed in approximately 1 of every 2 American men and 1 in 3 women in their lifetimes. Cancer afflicts 2 out of every 3 families. The annual costs of cancer are estimated at about $107 billion—37 billion for direct medical costs, $11 billion for lost productivity, and $59 billion for indirect mortality costs." ~ cancer.org pdf 

SEER Fast Stats - NHL | Hodgkin's  (highly recommended)
SEER CSR Report -  seer.cancer.gov pdf 
Search SEER Cancer Statistics Review, 1975-2000 - SEER.cancer.gov 
| NHL-specific | Hodgkin's-specific
Changing incidence of non-Hodgkin lymphomas in the United States.
Cancer. 2002 Apr 1;94(7):2015-23. PMID: 11932904 - PubMed | Related Abstracts
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma: U.S. Racial/Ethnic Cancer Patterns - Cancer.gov
SEER NHL Statistics (Cyberfamily) - PDF | PDF-Help
Cancer Facts and Figures 2002-1997 - ACS 
Cancer Incidence and Mortality - edcenter.med.cornell.edu
SEER, about: "The Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute is the most authoritative source of information on cancer incidence and survival in the United States."
SEER databases - NCI
Cancer Trends - Dr. Richard Klausner, Director of the NCI, 2001
Statistics Definitions - SEER
By Geographic Region:
View/Download Maps for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - NCI | Summary text
The U.S. government released its first state-by-state report on cancer 
  | PDF-Help  This is a large 285 pg report that will take considerable time to open and print.
Pop-chart ~ Select Cancer type to compare mortality by States - NCI
Blood Cancers 
Blood Cancers Advocacy Days!  
Last year's photos  
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Blood Cancers Facts

Blood Cancers Facts and Statistics - LLS
"An estimated 109,500 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma this year. 
New cases of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma account for 8.6 percent of the 1,268,000 new cancer cases diagnosed in the United States in 2001. 
The total estimated number of blood-related cancers has increased only slightly for each of the past three years. 
Every five minutes, someone in the United States learns that they have leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, more than 300 people a day." - LLS
Excerpt from the Report of the Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma Progress Review Group May 2001 full text

"Despite advances in diagnosis and treatment and improvements in patient survival, the hematologic cancers continue to have a significant impact on the lives of Americans. 
Right now, almost 700,000 Americans are living with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma (LLM), and an estimated 100,000 new cases occur each year. 
Although mortality has declined and 5-year survival rates have increased among adults and children with certain forms of these diseases, an estimated 60,000 Americans will die of them in 2001. 
For all forms of leukemia, the five-year survival rate is only 46%, for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma it is 54.2%, and for multiple myeloma it is only 28%.
Despite the significant decline in the death rate for children with leukemia, this disease still causes more deaths in children in the U.S. than any other disease.
Furthermore, the death rates for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and multiple myeloma are increasing at a time when death rates for other cancers are dropping. 
Since the 1970's, incidence rates for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma have increased dramatically, making it one of the fastest rising cancers in the United States. 
The hematologic cancers strike individuals of all ages, from children to the elderly; men and women; and all races." - LLMPRG report

Incidence & Mortality
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Lymphoma Incidence & Mortality


By including both indolent and aggressive NHL we are really combining two separate conditions, particularly when survival is considered, since aggressive is curable in maybe 40% of cases. This occurred to me yesterday in noting that SEER reports that about 29% are still alive after 20 years...but which ones?? Hopefully not JUST the 40% cured with aggressive, although mathematically they must comprise a large percentage. As time goes on we should try to distinguish more clearly the considerable differences between indolent and aggressive. In fact, it's too bad that our disorder is a NON something...especially since it vastly outnumbers Hodgkin's. This takes something away from the public profile of NHL...do people want to support a "non-something"? - Robert Miller.

Q: I have been diagnosed with Lymphoma Stage 4-Do you have any statistics as to the survival rate of patients with this diagnosis?

A: There is a saying in statistics that "the Median is *not* the message."  Ever so true for lymphomas (emphasis on plural) in which there are so many subtypes of the disease and of the people diagnosed with it. Factors that predict the *average* survival for pts with lymphoma include the specific diagnosis, the stage of the disease (almost everyone is diagnosed with stage 4), the age and performance level of the patient, tumor burden, high LDH levels, response to initial treatment and the duration of the initial response ...

Also, survival data is always a few seasons behind and does not take into account the impact of newer more targeted treatment approaches that are available now, and of course the new treatments to arrive soon.

View/Download Maps for Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma - NCI | Summary text
Pesticides Research Report: Do Pesticides Cause Lymphoma? - LFA
Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Incidence - Lymphoma Info Net
Brief description of mortality figures and patterns between 1950 and 1994 - NCI
Mortality Graphs and Maps - NCI
Customized mortality Map - NCI
Submit different years, age, gender to create mortality data in colored map and tables.


"A disturbing trend is that the incidence and mortality rates for NHL have increased, with the incidence rate nearly doubling, since the early 1970s, then stabilizing in the last 5 years. For both forms of lymphoma, incidence and mortality rates have been higher for whites than African Americans and other ethnic groups. It is estimated that, each year, $2.6 billion* is spent in the United States on treatment for lymphoma." 1

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SEER Age-Adjusted Incidence Rate Comparison
Delay-Adjusted and Observed Rates
For Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, All Races, Both Sexes, All Ages
SEER 9 Registries for 1975-2004
Age-Adjusted to the 2000 US Std Population: FastStats

Chart Data

Childhood Lymphomas

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Disclaimer:  The information on Lymphomation.org is not intended to be a substitute for 
professional medical advice or to replace your relationship with a physician.
For all medical concerns,  you should always consult your doctor. 
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