Latest figures released, as part of the first UK-wide report of incidence and survival of all cancers and primary bone cancer for children and young adults under the age of 25 diagnosed between 1997-2016, show that from 2006 to 2016 there has been an increase of 8% in the overall 5-year survival of children (0-14) and teenage and young adults (TYAs 15-24) with primary bone cancer.

Between 2006 and 2016, and since the Bone Cancer Research Trust was founded, 5-year survival rates have increased for osteosarcoma in both children and TYAs by 15% and 9% respectively. TYAs with Ewing sarcoma and chondrosarcoma also saw an increase of nearly 4%.

However, during this period, the trend of survival increase for children (0-14) was not seen across all primary bone cancers, with Ewing sarcoma 5-year survival rates remaining unchanged. And whilst TYAs have seen improved survival rates, they continue to lag behind children for both Ewing sarcoma and osteosarcoma.

Dr Davison, Head of Research, Support and Information, said:

Having access to this report and being able to analyse the data for the first time ever for the whole of the UK is a fantastic step forward. Some of the latest figures are really encouraging, however, primary bone cancer 5-year survival rates in children, teenagers and young adults is still behind other cancers. This demonstrates that much more still needs to be done for young people with primary bone cancer.

Lucy Irvine, Senior Analyst in Public Health England’s National Cancer Registration and Analysis Service, said:

There are several cancers that have poorer survival that need further research and better treatments, notably some of the brain cancers, bone tumours and soft tissue sarcomas.

The ‘Children, teenagers and young adults UK cancer statistics report 2021’ has been produced by the four UK national cancer registries who have come together to describe the incidence, survival and mortality from cancer diagnosed among children, teenagers and young adults resident in the United Kingdom. For further reading, a blog has also been published outlining the 5 key messages from the overall report. this can be accessed here.

Dr Vinader, Research Manager at the Bone Cancer Research Trust, said:

Having access to this data ensures our research funding is allocated appropriately, our Support & Information Service delivers what our community wants and needs, and targeted awareness campaigns with educational resources for medical professionals are effective and impactful. Although the data is important, we want to remind our community that children with primary bone cancer are more than a statistic to us. They are at the heart of what we do every day, and for them, and everyone facing this brutal disease, we won’t stop until there’s a cure.