Bone sarcoma statistics


New cases of bone sarcoma, 2012, UK


Deaths from bone sarcoma, 2012, UK


Survive bone sarcoma for 5 or more years, 2001-2005, England


Preventable cases of bone sarcoma, UK

  • Around 500 people were diagnosed with bone sarcoma in 2012 in the UK, that’s around 1 person every day.
  • Bone sarcoma accounts for less than 1% of all new cases in the UK (2012).
  • In men, there were around 300 cases of bone sarcoma diagnosed in the UK in 2012.
  • In women, there were around 200 cases of bone sarcoma diagnosed in the UK in 2012.
  • Bone sarcoma is most common in older children and teenagers, and older people.
  • 3 in 20 (15%) cases of bone sarcoma are diagnosed in people aged 75 and over.
  • More than a quarter (28%) of bone sarcomas occur in children, teenagers and young adults (up to age 24).
  • Malignant bone tumours account for 4% of childhood cancers and 5% of teenage and young adult cancers.
  • Most bone sarcomas occur in the lower limbs.
  • Bone sarcoma incidence rates have remained stable overall in Great Britain since the late-1970s, though this trend includes a decrease followed by an increase. This increase probably reflects improved diagnostic techniques and reporting rather than a true increase in incidence, however.
  • Over the last decade, bone sarcoma incidence rates have remained stable in the UK.
  • 1 in 1,140 men and 1 in 1,660 women will be diagnosed with bone sarcoma during their lifetime.

Read more in-depth bone sarcoma incidence statistics

  • In the UK there were around 250 deaths from bone sarcoma in 2012, nearly 5 people every week.
  • Around a quarter of bone sarcoma deaths occur in people aged 75 and over, and a further quarter occur in people under 30.
  • Bone sarcoma death rates in the UK have remained stable over the last decade.

Read more in-depth bone sarcoma mortality statistics

  • Almost 6 in 10 (56%) people diagnosed with bone sarcoma in England survive their disease for five years or more (2001-05).
  • Bone sarcoma survival has remained stable in the last 25 years in England.

More in-depth bone sarcoma survival statistics are coming soon

  • Less than 1% of bone sarcoma cases each year in the UK are linked to major lifestyle and other risk factors.
  • A person’s risk of developing bone sarcoma depends on many factors, including age, genetics, and exposure to risk factors (including some potentially avoidable lifestyle factors).
  • Evidence on bone sarcoma risk factors is limited, mainly because this cancer is relatively rare and comprises many subtypes.
  • Some forms of ionising radiation cause bone sarcoma.
  • Previous cancer treatment, larger body size, and certain medical conditions may relate to higher bone sarcoma risk.

Read more in-depth bone sarcoma risk factors

  • ‘Two-week wait’ standards are met by all countries, ‘31-day wait’ is met by all but Northern Ireland and Wales, and ’62 day wait’ is not met by any country for sarcoma.
  • 9 in 10 patients had a ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’ patient experience.
  • Around 8 in 10 patients are given the name of their Clinical Nurse Specialist.

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The latest statistics for bone sarcoma in the UK are; incidence 2012, and mortality 2012. Limited survival data are published. 

The ICD codes Open a glossary item for bone sarcoma are ICD-10 C40-C41.

European Age-Standardised Rates were calculated using the 1976 European Standard Population (ESP) unless otherwise stated as calculated with ESP2013. ASRs calculated with ESP2013 are not comparable with ASRs calculated with ESP1976.

Lifetime risk estimates were calculated using incidence, mortality, population and all-cause mortality data for 2010-2012 due to the small number of cases.

Survival statistics give an overall picture of survival and (unless otherwise stated) include all adults (15-99) diagnosed, at all ages, stages Open a glossary item and co-morbidities Open a glossary item. The survival time experienced by an individual patient may be much higher or lower, depending on specific patient and tumour characteristics.

Overall, the evidence on bone sarcoma risk factors is limited, mainly because of the relative rarity and diversity of this group of cancers. Studies which group together different morphological subtypes of bone sarcoma may be confounded if those subtypes have differing aetiologies. Where available, evidence from studies which define bone sarcomas by tumour morphology are cited; if studies define by ICD-9 or ICD-10 anatomical site only this is noted.

Meta-analyses Open a glossary item and systematic reviews Open a glossary item are cited where available, as they provide the best overview of all available research and most take study quality into account. Individual case-control and cohort studies Open a glossary item are reported where such aggregated data are lacking.

Cancer waiting times statistics are for patients who entered the health care system within financial year 2014-15. Bone sarcoma is part of the group 'Sarcoma' for cancer waiting times data. Codes vary per country but broadly include: bone and articular cartilage, Kaposi sarcoma, retroperitoneum and peritoneum, other connective and soft tissue, secondary cancers of retroperitoneum and peritoneum, secondary cancers of bone and bone marrow.

Patient Experience data is for adult patients in England with a primary diagnosis of cancer, who were in active treatment between September and November 2013 and who completed a survey in 2014.


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We would like to acknowledge the essential work of the cancer registries in the United Kingdom and Ireland Association of Cancer Registries, without which there would be no data.

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