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Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). Some patients with cancer may want to know the survival statistics for people in similar situations, while others may not find the numbers helpful, or may even not want to know them. If you do not want to read about the survival statistics for bone cancer given in the next few paragraphs, skip to the next section.

The 5-year survival rate refers to the percentage of patients who live at least 5 years after their cancer is diagnosed. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

Five-year relative survival rates assume that some people will die of other causes and compare the observed survival with that expected for people without the cancer. This is a better way to see the impact of the cancer on survival.

In order to get 5-year survival rates, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. Improvements in treatment since then may result in a more favorable outlook for people now being diagnosed with bone cancer.

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they cannot predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. Many factors may affect a person’s outlook, such as the type and grade of the cancer, the patient’s age, where the cancer is located, the size of the tumor, and the treatment received. Your doctor can tell you how the numbers below may apply to you, as he or she is familiar with the aspects of your particular situation.

For all cases of bone cancer combined (in both adults and children), the 5-year relative survival is about 70%. For adults, the most common bone cancer is chondrosarcoma, which has a 5-year relative survival of about 80%. (Survival statistics for Ewing tumors and osteosarcoma can be found in our documents about those cancers.)

Last Medical Review: 03/21/2014
Last Revised: 01/21/2016