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How Fast Does Bone Cancer Spread? Know the Facts

Breathing - Health

A cancer diagnosis is never welcome news, and many patients experience sadness, anger, and anxiety. For those who have developed bone cancer, it’s only natural to ponder the future, and many want to know how fast cancer will spread and what the outcome will be.

However, there is no one-size-fits-all answer. There are several types of bone cancers, and diagnoses come at various stages of growth. How quickly the cancer will spread will depend on these factors, as well as the overall health of the patient. This article will explore the variables impacting bone cancer development and growth in more detail and shed light on alternative treatment pathways that offer hope for those embarking on their health journey.

Types of Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is rare, making up fewer than 1 percent of cancer diagnoses yearly. While it can develop in any bone in the body, it generally begins in the pelvis, arms, or legs. Some bone cancers impact adults, while others develop in children, and surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy are conventional treatment pathways. Integrative and alternative oncology offer another treatment route that can deliver patient results with non-toxic therapies.

There are four main types of bone cancer:

  1. Osteosarcoma: This is the most common type of bone cancer. It develops in the cells in newly forming bones. Osteosarcoma can start in any bone in the body but usually affects the larger bones in the legs and arms. It also affects children and teenagers more than adults.
  2. Chondrosarcoma develops in cartilage, a connective tissue that enables movement between joints—more common in adults than children, chondrosarcoma forms in the pelvis, arms, or legs.
  3. Ewing sarcoma: This type of cancer encompasses several different tumors that share qualities and form in the same cell types. It grows in the bones surrounding soft tissue, such as the ribs, hips, and shoulder blades.
  4. Chordoma: This rare type of bone cancer develops in the spine or at the base of the skull. It occurs most commonly in older adults and males.

Bone Cancer Symptoms

Sometimes, bone cancer develops without causing symptoms. Other times, people will notice a painless lump, unexplained swelling, fatigue, fever, or pain that worsens at night. Other conditions like arthritis can cloud bone cancer symptoms and delay a diagnosis.

Bone Cancer Diagnosis

When a patient experiences bone cancer symptoms or their healthcare provider suspects bone cancer, they will undergo testing to determine a diagnosis. Medical imaging tests are essential diagnostic tools and can reveal the size of the tumor, the type of tumor, and whether it has spread to other areas of the body.

Some of the most commonly used tests include the following:

  • Bone scans
  • Computerized tomography (CT) scans
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scans
  • X-rays

How Fast Does Bone Cancer Spread?

When bone cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it becomes more challenging to treat. How this process unfolds depends on whether the tumor is benign or malignant.

  • Benign tumors are noncancerous and cannot spread to other tissues and organs. However, they can result in health problems if they become painful, press on organs, or are located in the brain. Benign tumors are generally removed surgically and rarely grow back.
  • Malignant tumors are cancerous and can affect other tissue and organs. They develop when abnormalities in DNA trigger unusual behavior in a cell. These cells duplicate and spread throughout the body via the bloodstream or lymph system. In most cases, malignant tumors also grow faster than benign tumors.

If a patient’s bone tumor is found to be malignant, how fast it will spread depends on the stage of development. The stages of bone cancer range between one and four (often indicated by Roman numerals from 0 to IV), with four being the most developed and aggressive. Factors that influence cancer’s stage include the following:

  • The number of bones already affected, including adjacent bones and vertebrae
  • The tumor’s size
  • The rate of growth
  • Whether the cancer has moved into other parts of the body

Stage IV cancer will often spread faster than stage I or II cancer.

Is Bone Cancer Fatal?

Even when bone cancer spreads to other areas of the body, patients can make full recoveries and live long, healthy, and fulfilling lives. The average five-year survival rate is 66.8 percent. The five-year survival rate for various types of bone cancer includes the following:

  • Osteosarcoma, 41.0 percent
  • Chondrosarcoma, 72.7 percent
  • Ewing’s sarcoma, 41.2 percent
  • Chordoma, 63.8 percent

These percentages do not determine the outcome of an individual’s experience with bone cancer. They are estimates that reflect the survival of people who have had bone cancer. Lifestyle factors, treatment options, and overall health will impact how a patient experiences and responds to cancer.

Typically, cancers detected at a later stage decrease survival rate. Therefore, early detection is key to a successful recovery.

Bone Cancer Treatment

No treatment is possible if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with bone cancer. Brio-Medical offers a holistic, patient-centered program that empowers the immune system through science-backed therapies that leverage cancer’s natural weaknesses. These alternative or adjunct therapies may slow or stop the spread of bone cancer without using toxic drugs.

Contact our patient care coordinator today if you are ready to learn more about reclaiming your health and vitality naturally.


  • Dorfman, H D, and B Czerniak. “Bone cancers.” Cancer vol. 75,1 Suppl (1995): 203-10. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19950101)75:1+<203::aid-cncr2820751308>;2-v
  • Ferguson, Jason L, and Sean P Turner. “Bone Cancer: Diagnosis and Treatment Principles.” American family physician vol. 98,4 (2018): 205-213.
  • Stacy, Gregory S et al. “Staging of bone tumors: a review with illustrative examples.” AJR. American Journal of roentgenology vol. 186,4 (2006): 967-76. doi:10.2214/AJR.05.0654
Meet the Author

Brio-Medical, Scottsdale AZ, is a natural, holistic, and integrative expert in the cancer field. He is the medical director at Brio Medical, a holistic, integrative cancer healing center in Scottsdale, Arizona. Brio-Medical received his Bachelor of Arts from Louisiana Tech University and his Doctor of Medicine from LSU Health Sciences Center. He is Board Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology and served as the Chief Resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Tennessee. Brio-Medical is a Fellow in Functional and Regenerative Medicine, is a medical Advisor for NEO7 Bioscience and has been named as the President of the North American Society of Laser Therapy Applications (NASLTA).

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