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Bone Cancer Survival Rate

Bone Cancer Survival Rate

Each year, in the United States, more than 2,000 people are diagnosed with a bone tumor. Bone cancer survival rate varies mainly according to the type of the cancer and the stage in which the cancer is diagnosed. Read on, to know about the survival rate and other factors that influence the rate...
Leena Palande
Last Updated: May 5, 2018
Bone cancer is classified into two types, primary bone cancer which starts in the bone tissue itself and metastatic bone cancer which spreads into the bones from other organs of the body. Bone cancer in older adults is mostly a metastatic spread from a tumor developed in some other organ. According to the American Cancer Society, the 5-year relative survival rate for all cases of bone cancer in adults and children is about 70%. With the availability of modern treatments and medicines, the rate is found to be improving. It is quite higher for the cancer that is diagnosed at the preliminary stage.
Survival Rate Statistics

The prognosis for bone cancer depends on the grade and the stage of the cancer. The lower the grade / stage of the cancer, the higher are the chances of it being cured. The survival rates are calculated for different purposes. Various methods are followed to calculate the rates.
  • Age: The average age at diagnosis for bone cancer is 38 years and the average age at death due to bone cancer is 59 years. Nearly 29% patients diagnosed with bone cancer are under age 20 while only 3.5% people are above 85 years of age. 17.5 % are between 20-34 while 12% are between 35-45. Nearly 15% of the patients who die, are under the age 20 while around 19% of the patients who die, are between the age 75-85.
  • Race and Sex: The five-year relative survival rate for the Caucasian men is around 68% , for Caucasian women it is 72%, for Afro-American men is 70%, and for Afro-American women, it is 68.5%.
  • Stages:
    1. The survival rate for primary bone cancer (patients are diagnosed with cancer while the cancer is still confined to the primary site) is 84.5%. This stage is also known as localized stage. Nearly 42% cases are diagnosed at this stage.
    2. The survival rate for secondary bone cancer (cancer that has spread to the regional lymph nodes beyond the primary location), is nearly 70%. Around 35% cases are diagnosed at this stage.
    3. The survival rate for stage 4 bone cancer (for the metastatic bone cancer when the cancer has already metastasized (spread) to distant places), is nearly 32%. About 15% cases are diagnosed at this stage.
    4. For around 8% of the cases of bone cancer, the exact staging information is not available. The survival rate for these cases is around 63%.

  • Types: The survival rate of bone cancer varies according to the type of the cancer. The five-year survival rate for Ewing's sarcoma is less than 30%, when it is detected at an advanced stage (cancer has invaded other parts of the body). Recent studies show that survival rates of 60% to 80% are possible for osteosarcoma detected at preliminary stage (when cancer is confined to its origin, hasn't spread beyond the original site). Osteosarcoma at an advanced stage is difficult to cure. Prognosis of osteosarcoma that has originated in an arm or leg is better than the prognosis of osteosarcoma that involves ribs, shoulder blades, spine, or pelvic bones. Chondrosarcoma is often detected at an early stage and has a relative 5-year survival of about 80%.

Factors that Influence the Survival Rate

The survival rate of bone cancer depends upon how long the person has had cancer and how much it has spread. The survival rates presented by statisticians are derived after studying the data collected from large groups of people. Mostly, the statistics refer to the percentage of people who are alive five years after the diagnosis of bone cancer. Following factors influence the survival rate of bone cancer:
  • Location, type and size of the tumor at the time of diagnosis.
  • The rate of progress of the cancer.
  • How far the cancer has spread (stage of the cancer).
  • How long the patient has had the symptoms.
  • The patient's age, physical health and mental stability.
  • How much cancer can be taken out by surgery and how much can be killed by chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
  • The treatment and patient's response to the treatment

Types of Bone Cancer

Primary bone cancer is far less common than metastatic bone cancer. The most common types of bone cancer include:
  • Osteosarcoma, more common in children and adolescents than adults. It starts in the osteoid tissue in a bone.
  • Ewing's sarcoma, occurs in bone or soft tissues, more common in children and young adults.
  • Chondrosarcoma, more common in adults (people aged 40 or older). It starts in cartilaginous tissue.
  • Malignant fibrous histiocytoma is rare in children and is more common in men than in women. It originates mostly in the extremities or in the abdominal cavity behind the peritoneum.
  • Fibrosarcoma, tumor that originates in the connective tissues present at the ends of the bones of arms or legs.
  • Chordoma, slow-growing tumor that usually develops in the spine and base of the skull.

The other two relatively common types of cancer, which develop in the bones are lymphoma and multiple myeloma. Lymphoma is a cancer which arises in the cells of the immune system. It usually has its origin in the lymph nodes, but can sometimes begin in the bone. Multiple myeloma begins in the bones. Still, it cannot be considered as a bone tumor, as it is a tumor of the bone marrow cells and not of the bone cells. Bone tumors can be benign or malignant. Certain benign bone tumors have the potential to become malignant.

The symptoms may vary from person to person, depending on the stage and grade of the cancer and the overall physical and mental health of the patient. Sometimes, a lump appears in the tissues surrounding a bone. It may occur on the bone too. Some of the common symptoms of the cancer in bones are:
  • Severe pain in bones
  • Weight loss
  • Chills
  • Lump
  • Fever for no reason
  • Anemia
  • Night sweats
  • Weak bones, unexpected bone fracture (without any apparent reason)
  • Swelling or tenderness around a bone or joint

Every cancer case is unique in itself. The rate of growth of cancer can be different for every person. Bone cancer treatment and response to the treatment vary greatly, depending upon the physical and mental health of the patient. Remember, the bone cancer survival rate should not be used to predict the health of a particular patient and to guess what will happen to the patient within the given period.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.