About media:

  • BCRT is committed to raising public awareness of bone cancer, therefore we work with all forms of media

  • It is our hope that by having more information people will feel empowered to persist with getting symptoms checked by their doctor

  • If you or a family member is affected by bone cancer and you are telling your story to the media, please get in contact to see how we can help you

JOURNALISTS:

  • If you'd like to speak to us about families willing to share their story or you're looking for facts and figures then please contact PR officer Chantal Spittles by emailing chantal.spittles@bcrt.org.uk or by calling 0113 258 5934.

  • You may also find the Notes to the Editor and Notes about the Charity useful

Notes to Editors:

  • BCRT's mission is to 'improve outcomes for people with primary bone cancer through research, awareness, information and support'.

  • Around 550 people are diagnosed with bone cancer each year in the UK and Republic of Ireland and around 300 people die from these cancers. The most common types of bone cancer are osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma which mainly affect children, teenagers and young people. The peak age for these bone cancers is 15-19 years old.

  • As bone cancer is a rare cancer, BCRT was established seven years ago as an alliance of established local charities and groups of family and friends of bone cancer patients throughout the UK and Ireland.

  • Since being formally registered as a charity in 2006, we have funded 35 different primary bone cancer research projects, totalling more than £1.5m (€1.75m) in research grant spending. Many of the grants have been pump-priming grants for research projects which might initiate or support work leading to more substantial applications to bigger national or international funders. As bone cancer is not one of the most common cancers, researchers find it very difficult to find funding for these initial research projects that require pump prime funding.

Facts and Figures

What is Primary Bone Cancer?

Primary bone cancer is the name given to cancer that starts in the bones, rather than cancer that has spread to the bones from other parts of the body.

Are there different types of Primary Bone Cancer?

The two most common types of bone cancer are osteosarcoma, which usually occurs in growing bones particularly the arms, legs and knees, and Ewing's sarcoma, which can occur in any bone, or surrounding tissue, in the body. Another type of primary bone cancer is called chondrosarcoma, which originates in cartilage.

Who is affected by Primary Bone Cancer?

Primary bone cancer can affect people of all ages but it is more common in children, teenagers and young adults than it is for other age groups.

Osteosarcoma occurs most commonly between the ages of 10-24, with a second group of elderly people with an underlying condition called Paget's disease also at risk. Around 10 per cent of osteosarcoma patients will require a full or partial limb amputation

Ewing's sarcoma also occurs most commonly in children and young people between the ages of 10-20, it is very rare in people over the age of 30.

Chondrosarcoma can affect people of any age; however, it is more common in people over the age of 40. Bone cancer occurs slightly more commonly in males than female.

How many people are affected?

In the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland a total of around 550 people are newly diagnosed with a primary bone cancer each year.

What causes bone cancer?

Most bone cancers occur by chance. No common specific risk factors have been identified but there may be a link with rapid growth, hence the link to young age of onset. Rarely, patients may have a genetic predisposition or have received treatment for a previous cancer. Elderly people with an underlying bone disease called Paget's disease of bone are also at risk of developing osteosarcoma.

What are the symptoms of bone cancer?

The most common symptom is pain, which may be intermittent, becoming more severe over time. Swelling; difficulty in moving a joint; pain, tingling and muscle weakness; skin numbness; and a broken bone can also be symptoms of bone cancer. Symptoms may be vague at first and an examination and X-ray are important first steps in diagnosis.

How is bone cancer treated?

The main treatments for bone cancer are surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Often a combination of treatments is used. The treatment plan will be tailored to the individual patient depending on the type of bone cancer, the site and size of the cancer and whether it has spread.

Can bone cancer be cured?

Bone cancer patients can be cured and on average a young person cured of bone cancer will have another 60 years of life.

Has the outlook for people with bone cancer improved over time?

Sadly, a recent publication funded by BCRT has shown that there has been no improvement in survival for people with bone cancer in over 25 years. New, effective treatments are urgently needed to treat people with bone cancer.


About Bone Cancer Research Trust

The Bone Cancer Research Trust promotes research into the causes and treatment of Primary Bone Cancer, and in particular of osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma. The Trust aims to support patients and families affected by bone cancer.

For more information contact PR officer Chantal Spittles by emailing chantal.spittles@bcrt.org.uk or by calling 0113 258 5934.

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