When discussing the survival rates of bone cancer, the term "five-year survivability" simply means that the patient was still alive five years after the initial diagnosis of the disease. At that five-year point, the patient may be cured, controlling the cancer with chemotherapy or still undergoing treatment. Also, one of the greatest factors in treating bone cancer is if the cancer is localised, still contained within the bone, or has spread beyond and become regional.
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Other factors in the lethality of bone cancer are the size and location of the cancer, the length of time the patient has been infected, the patient's overall health and the grade and stage of the cancer. Low grade cancers are easier to cure, as are those in the beginning stages. For example, in stage 1A, when the cancer is localised, most patients who are treated live for five years afterward. Likewise, with stage 1B around 95 per cent have five-year survivability. The success rate also heavily depends on how much of the cancer the surgeon can remove and the success of the chemotherapy in controlling the cancer. If the cancer has become regional and is in stage 2A, around 60 per cent achieve five-year survivability, and at stage 2B it drops to 40 per cent.
The survivability rate also depends on the type of bone cancer. For example, Ewing's sarcoma is very treatable, especially in the young. Osteosarcoma is much more treatable if localised, with a five-year survival rate of 55 per cent. If it has spread, the rate drops to around 10 per cent.
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