Cancer Research UK on Google+ Cancer Research UK on Facebook Cancer Research UK on Twitter
 

A quick guide to what's on this page

Statistics and outlook for bone cancer

Outlook means your chances of getting better. Your doctor may call this your prognosis.  This page presents detailed information about the likely outcome of different types of bone cancer. The statistics we use are taken from a variety of sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts who check every section of this website. They are intended as a general guide only.

We include statistics because people ask for them, but not everyone wishes to read this type of information. If you think you would like to have this information, it is available further down this page. 

How reliable are cancer statistics?

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. Your cancer is unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people, for example. The statistics cannot tell you about the different treatments people may have had, or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will affect your treatment and your outlook.

 

CR PDF Icon You can view and print the quick guides for all the pages in the Treating bone cancer section.

 

 

About the information on this page

On this page there is quite detailed information about the survival rates of different stages of bone cancer. We have included it because people ask us for this. But not everyone who is diagnosed with a cancer wants to read this type of information. If you are not sure whether you want to know at the moment, you might like to skip this page for now. You can always come back to it.

Please note – No national UK statistics are available for different stages of cancer or treatments that people may have had. The statistics we present here are pulled together from a variety of different sources, including the opinions and experience of the experts who check each section of this website. We give statistics because people ask us for them. But they are only intended as a general guide and can't tell you what will happen in your individual case.

 

General cancer statistics

Unless you are very familiar with medical statistics, you may find it helpful to go to our section about different types of cancer statistics before you read the information below.

Remember – statistics are averages based on large numbers of patients. They cannot predict exactly what will happen to you. No two patients are exactly alike and how well treatment works also varies from one person to another. You should feel free to ask your doctor about your prognosis, but not even your doctor can tell you for sure what will happen.

You may hear doctors use the term 5 year survival. This does not mean you will only live 5 years. It relates to the number of people who are alive 5 years after diagnosis. Doctors follow what happens to people for at least 5 years after treatment in any research study. This is because there is a chance of the cancer coming back more than 5 years after treatment. Doctors do not like to say these people are cured because there is that small chance of the cancer coming back (recurrence). So they use the term 5 year survival instead.

 

Primary bone cancer outlook in general

The treatment of bone cancer is often very successful, particularly if the cancer has not spread to other parts of the body. Overall, more than 40 out of every 100 men (over 40%) and more than half of women (over 50%) will live for more than 5 years after their primary bone cancer is diagnosed and treated.

Remember – this is primary bone cancers not cancer that has spread to the bone from a cancer somewhere else in the body. If you are looking for information about secondary bone cancer, you will need to go to the specific cancers list. On the list find the primary cancer type that you have, for example, breast cancer or prostate cancer.

It is very difficult to predict who will do well and who will not with primary bone cancer. The outcome of the cancer and treatment depends on a lot of different factors. There are some indicators of how well you are likely to do. The most important of these are

If your cancer is low grade, it is generally more likely to be cured.

If the cancer is still inside the bone (localised) when it is diagnosed, it is more likely to be cured than if it has already spread outside the bone or to another part of the body. 

Almost everyone with a stage 1A bone cancer lives for more than 5 years. More than 95% of people with a stage 1B bone cancer live for more than 5 years. An important factor in whether or not your bone cancer is curable is whether your surgeon can completely remove the cancer. Chemotherapy can work well at reducing the risk of the cancer coming back after surgery, particularly for Ewing's sarcoma.

If the cancer has spread beyond the bone it is more difficult to cure, but more than 60% of people with stage 2A bone cancer live for more than 5 years. Just over 40% of people with stage 2B bone cancer live for more than 5 years.

Some bone cancers that have spread can respond well to treatment, particularly Ewing's sarcoma. Also patients with osteosarcoma who have a small amount of lung cancer spread metastases may be cured. A small number of people with Ewing's sarcoma that has spread to the lungs will be cured. But for people with other types of bone cancer, treatment in this situation aims to control the cancer for some time rather than get rid of it altogether.

 

Osteosarcoma statistics

Generally speaking, with osteosarcoma you are more likely to be cured if

  • The level of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in your blood is not much higher than normal
  • You are under 40
  • Your cancer responds well to chemotherapy

Low grade osteosarcomas are not very common. They most commonly occur in the bones of the face and jaw or in the legs. Over 90 out of  every 100 people (90%) with this type of tumour live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis.

Regardless of grade, localised osteosarcomas have a 5 year survival rate of about 60%. That means that 60 out of every 100 people (60%) with this type of cancer live for at least 5 years. Many of these people will be cured. In people whose chemotherapy works very well survival may be more than 70%.

In people whose osteosarcoma has spread to the lung at the time of diagnosis the survival is unfortunately lower. Less than 10 out of every 100 people (10%) live for more than 5 years.

 

Ewing's sarcoma statistics

For Ewing's sarcoma you are more likely to be cured if

  • You are young
  • You have a small tumour
  • You do not have general symptoms, such as a high temperature, when you are diagnosed
  • Your cancer responds well to chemotherapy

For Ewing's sarcoma that is localised and hasn't spread elsewhere in the body, about 70 out of every 100 people (70%) live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis. Again, many of these people will be cured.

If Ewing's sarcoma has spread to the lungs, around 30 out of  every 100 people (30%) will live for at least 5 years after their diagnosis. If Ewing's sarcoma has spread to the brain then, unfortunately, the 5 year survival is less than 10%.

 

Chondrosarcoma statistics

The grade of the cancer is the most important factor for chondrosarcoma. Chondrosarcoma is more likely to be curable if it is low grade. Overall, at least 80 out of every 100 people (80%) will live for more than 10 years after treatment. But if the cancer is high grade the outlook is poorer and about 30 out of every 100 people (30%) will live for at least 5 years.

 

How reliable these statistics are

No statistics can tell you what will happen to you. You and your cancer are unique. The same type of cancer can grow at different rates in different people for example. You cannot tell from statistics what type of treatments people may have had. Or how that treatment may have affected their prognosis. There are many individual factors that will determine your treatment and prognosis.

 

Clinical trials

Taking part in clinical trials can help to improve the outlook for people in the future. There is information about clinical trials in the trials and research section.

Rate this page:
Submit rating

 

Rated 5 out of 5 based on 36 votes
Rate this page
Rate this page for no comments box
Please enter feedback to continue submitting
Send feedback
Question about cancer? Contact our information nurse team

No Error

Updated: 30 May 2013