Bone marrow cancer survival rate


Since there is an extraordinary amount of confusion on the web, we should begin this article by explaining very clearly what 'bone marrow cancer' means and what it does not mean.

It does NOT mean 'bone marrow involvement' of another cancer. Bone marrow involvement means that the primary cancer (breast cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, etc), has spread to the bone marrow.

It does NOT mean 'bone cancer.' Bone cancer arises in the bone, the hard outer part of bones. Bone marrow is the spongy, inner portion of bones.

In fact, there is no established cancer called 'bone marrow cancer' because the bone marrow is composed of stem cells that create several different blood cells. Cancers that arise from these blood cells have their own names. For instance, when stem cells become abnormal white blood cells, it is called leukemia. Abnormal lymphocytes signifies lymphoma. Overproduction of certain plasma cells in the bone marrow is called multiple myeloma. And when the bone marrow begin to fail at producing enough mature cells of any type, it is known as a myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).

Because multiple myeloma is according to definition a bone marrow cancer, this entry will focus on multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma

In the US, 11,170 men and 9,010 women (20,180 people in all) will likely be diagnosed with multiple myeloma in a given year, and an estimated 10,650 will die from it.

Incidence and Mortality

The median age at diagnosis for multiple myeloma is 69 years old, and the median age at death for multiple myeloma is 75 years old.

Myeloma survival rates by stage

Multiple myeloma is not considered a curable cancer, but it is treatable. Treatment is more successful when the disease is localized. The following lists the extent to which the cancer is known to have spread, followed by what's known as a 5-year survival relative percentage—this figure represents the number of people expected to be alive 5 years after being diagnosed at each disease stage:

  • -- Localized disease: 68.4%
  • -- Metastatic disease: 38.2%


National Cancer Institute SEER Stat Fact Sheets: Multiple Myeloma

International Myeloma Foundation


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