Bone cancer

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Survival statistics for bone cancer

Survival statistics for bone cancer are very general estimates and must be interpreted very carefully. Because these statistics are based on the experience of groups of people, they cannot be used to predict a particular person’s chances of survival.

There are many different ways to measure and report cancer survival statistics. Your doctor can explain the statistics for bone cancer and what they mean to you.

Relative survival

Relative survival compares the survival for a group of people with cancer to the survival expected for a group of people in the general population who share the same characteristics as the people with cancer (such as age, sex and where they live). Ideally, the group of people used in the general population would not include people with cancer, but this can be hard to guarantee. As a result, relative survival can sometimes be overestimated. Relative survival only includes deaths from cancer.

In Canada, the 5-year relative survival for bone cancer is 68%. This means that, on average, 68% of people diagnosed with bone cancer will survive for at least 5 years. But people with bone cancer may live much longer than 5 years.

Survival by tumour type

Survival varies with each type of bone cancer. Some types of bone cancer often respond well to cancer treatment. Generally, the earlier bone cancer is diagnosed and treated, the better the outcome.

There are no specific Canadian statistics available for the different stages or types of bone cancer. The following information comes from a variety of sources. It may include statistics from other countries that are likely to have similar outcomes as in Canada.

Bone cancer survival
Tumour type5-year relative survival

chondrosarcoma (the most common adult bone cancer)


osteosarcoma, localized (stages 1, 2 and 3)

60% to 80%

osteosarcoma, metastatic to lungs only (stage 4)


osteosarcoma, metastatic to other organs (stage 4)

15% to 30%

Ewing sarcoma is very rare in adults, so accurate statistics are hard to find. Research comparing studies looking at survival rates for adult Ewing sarcoma have shown 5-year relative survival between 41% and 58%.

Questions about survival

Talk to your doctor about your prognosis. A prognosis depends on many factors, including:

  • your health history
  • the type of cancer
  • the stage
  • certain characteristics of the cancer
  • the treatments chosen
  • how the cancer responds to treatment

Only a doctor familiar with these factors can put all of this information together with survival statistics to arrive at a prognosis.


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