Survival Rates for Bone Cancer

The information here focuses on primary bone cancers (cancers that start in bones) that most often are seen in adults. Information on Osteosarcoma, Ewing Tumors (Ewing sarcomas), and Bone Metastasis is covered separately.

Survival rates can give you an idea of what percentage of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain length of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They don't tell you how long a person will live, but they might help give you a better understanding of how likely it is that your treatment will be successful.

Keep in mind that survival rates are estimates and are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had a specific cancer, but they can’t predict what will happen in any particular person’s case. These statistics can be confusing and might raise more questions for you. Talk with your doctor about how these numbers might apply to your situation.

What is a 5-year relative survival rate?

A relative survival rate compares people with the same type (and often stage) of cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific type and stage of bone cancer is 80%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 80% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.

Where do these numbers come from?

The American Cancer Society relies on information from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database, maintained by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), to provide survival statistics for different types of cancer.

The SEER database tracks 5-year relative survival rates for different types of bone cancer in the United States, based on how far the cancer has spread. The SEER database, however, does not group cancers by MSTS or TNM stages (stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, etc.). Instead, it groups cancers into localized, regional, and distant stages:

  • Localized: There is no sign that the cancer has spread outside of the bone where it started.
  • Regional: The cancer has grown outside the bone and into nearby bones or other structures, or it has reached nearby lymph nodes.
  • Distant: The cancer has spread to distant parts of the body, such as to the lungs or to bones in other parts of the body.

5-year relative survival rates for certain bone cancers

These numbers are based on people diagnosed with certain types of bone cancer between 2011 and 2017. For rates for some of the other more common types of bone cancer, see Survival Rates for Osteosarcoma or Survival Rates for Ewing Tumors.

Chondrosarcoma

SEER stage

5-year relative survival rate

Localized

91%

Regional

75%

Distant

23%

All SEER stages combined

79%

Chordoma

SEER stage

5-year relative survival rate

Localized

86%

Regional

85%

Distant

61%

All SEER stages combined

79%

Giant cell tumor of bone

SEER stage

5-year relative survival rate

Localized

87%

Regional

74%

Distant

42%

All SEER stages combined

76%

Some types of bone cancer are so rare that it can be hard to get accurate survival rates. If you have a type of bone cancer not listed here and you'd like to know more about your prognosis (outlook), talk to your health care team to learn more.

Understanding the numbers

  • These numbers apply only to the stage of the cancer when it is first diagnosed. They do not apply later on if the cancer grows, spreads, or comes back after treatment.
  • These numbers don’t take everything into account. Survival rates are grouped based on the type of bone cancer and how far the cancer has spread. But other factors, such as your age and overall health, which bone the cancer started in, and how well the cancer responds to treatment, can also affect your outlook.
  • People now being diagnosed with bone cancer may have a better outlook than these numbers show. Treatments improve over time, and these numbers are based on people who were diagnosed and treated at least 5 years earlier.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

SEER*Explorer: An interactive website for SEER cancer statistics [Internet]. Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute. [Cited 2021 September 27]. Available from https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/.

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (www.seer.cancer.gov) SEER*Stat Database: Incidence - SEER Research Data, 18 Registries (2000-2018), National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, released April 2021, based on the November 2020 submission.

References

SEER*Explorer: An interactive website for SEER cancer statistics [Internet]. Surveillance Research Program, National Cancer Institute. [Cited 2021 September 27]. Available from https://seer.cancer.gov/explorer/.

Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program (www.seer.cancer.gov) SEER*Stat Database: Incidence - SEER Research Data, 18 Registries (2000-2018), National Cancer Institute, DCCPS, Surveillance Research Program, released April 2021, based on the November 2020 submission.

Last Revised: March 3, 2022

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