Find out about survival for bone cancer.
Survival depends on many different factors. So no one can tell you exactly how long you will live. It depends on your:
- type and stage of cancer
- level of fitness
- previous treatment
These are general statistics based on large groups of patients. Remember, they can’t tell you what will happen in your individual case.
Primary and secondary bone cancer
Primary bone cancer 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 or metastatic bone cancer. So for example, 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. It is named after the part of your body where your cancer started.
All types of primary bone cancer
Generally for people with primary bone cancer in England:
- almost 85 out of every 100 people (almost 85%) survive their cancer for 1 year or more after diagnosis
- more than 60 out of every 100 people (more than 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis
- 55 out of every 100 people (55%) survive their cancer for 10 years or more after diagnosis
These statistics are for people diagnosed with primary bone cancer in England between 2009 and 2013.
Net survival and the probability of cancer death from rare cancers.
P Muller and others
Cancer Research UK Cancer Survival Group, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
These statistics are for net survival. Net survival estimates the number of people who survive their cancer rather than calculating the number of people diagnosed with cancer who are still alive. In other words, it is the survival of cancer patients after taking into account that some people would have died from other causes if they had not had cancer.
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:
- Ewing's sarcoma
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.
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.
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.
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.
Around 60 out of 100 people (around 60%) survive their cancer for 5 years or more after diagnosis.
Bone Sarcoma Incidence and Survival: Tumours Diagnosed Between 1985 and 2009
National Cancer Intelligence Network, October 2012
These statistics are for relative survival. Relative survival takes into account that some people will die of causes other than cancer. This gives a more accurate picture of cancer survival.
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 terms 1 year survival and 5 year survival don't mean that you will only live for 1 or 5 years. Some people live much longer than 5 years.