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Survival

Find out about survival for bone cancer.

Survival depends on many different factors. It depends on your individual condition, type of cancer, treatment and level of fitness. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. 

These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.

Your doctor can give you more information about your own outlook (prognosis).

You can also talk about this with the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040, from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Primary and secondary bone cancer

Primary bone cancer is cancer that starts in the cells of the bones. The cancer cells are bone cells that have become cancerous. All the information in this section is about primary bone cancer. 

Most people who have cancer cells in their bones don't actually have primary bone cancer. They have cancer cells that have spread into the bone from a cancer elsewhere in the body. This is called secondary bone cancer. So if you have breast cancer that spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones will actually be breast cancer cells. 

If you have secondary bone cancer, this is not the right section for you. You need to look at the section for your type of primary cancer - named after the part of your body where your cancer started.

All types of primary bone cancer

No UK-wide statistics are available for bone cancer survival. The following statistics are for people diagnosed with primary bone cancer in England between 2009 and 2013. 

Generally for people with primary bone cancer in England:

  • more than 80 out of every 100 people (more than 80%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
  • more than 60 out of every 100 people (more than 60%) will survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
  • 55 out of every 100 people (55%) will survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis

Survival for different types of primary bone cancer

No UK-wide statistics are available for survival for the different types of bone cancer.

The statistics below are for bone cancers diagnosed in England between 1985 and 2004. They come from the National Cancer Intelligence Network. We have information about: 

  • osteosarcoma
  • chondrosarcoma
  • Ewing's sarcoma
  • chordoma

Please remember that these statistics are for everybody diagnosed with each type of cancer. The figures do not take into account other factors that affect your survivial, such as the stage and grade of your cancer, your age, where the cancer is, or how well chemotherapy works. Your doctor can tell you more about your own outlook. 

Osteosarcoma

More than 40 out of 100 people (more than 40%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

Survival is better for younger people than older people.

For those younger than 40, more than 50 out of 100 people (more than 50%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more. For those older than 40, 25 out of 100 people (25%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more. 

Survival is better for people with osteosarcoma starting in the skull, face, arms or legs than for those with an osteosarcoma in the main part of the body.

Chondrosarcoma

Almost 70 out of 100 people (almost 70%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after they are diagnosed. 

Survival is better for people with chondrosarcoma starting in the skull, face, arms or legs than for those with a chondrosarcoma in the main part of the body.

Ewing's sarcoma

Around 50 out of 100 people (around 50%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis. 

Survival is better for people with Ewing's sarcoma starting in the arms or legs than for those with Ewing's sarcoma in the main part of the body. 

Chordoma

Around 60 out of 100 people (around 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.

What affects survival

Your outlook depends on the stage of the cancer when it was diagnosed. This means how big it is and whether it has spread.

Survival is also affected by whereabouts the cancer is in your body.

If you have chemotherapy before surgery, the doctors will look at your tumour to see how well it has responded to chemotherapy. If you have a good response your outlook is better.

About these statistics

The term 5 year survival doesn't mean you will only live for 5 years. It relates to the number of people who live 5 years or more after their diagnosis of cancer.

More statistics

Information and help

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