New treatments urgently needed, says bone cancer trust

The Bone Cancer Research Trust (BCRT) is calling for new treatments for bone cancers affecting children and young people including osteosarcoma and Ewing’s sarcoma, the two most common forms of primary bone cancer.

A study funded by the Trust published this year shows that the survival of children and young adults with bone cancer in the UK has not improved for 20 years.

More research is urgently needed to find new treatments, says the Trust. It also urges that when new treatments are developed, they are introduced without delay to avoid any more young people dying of this disease.

On average, a young person cured of the disease would have another 60 years of life.

One new treatment for osteosarcoma that improves survival is currently being considered for funding by NICE. The BCRT has asked that this drug be made available as quickly as possible.

Michael Francis, Chairman of the BCRT, said: “Too many of the children and young people with bone cancer still die from their disease. We need to make bone cancer a priority and we urgently need more research to identify effective new treatments. The Government needs to play its part and streamline the process for introducing new treatments into the UK.”

An awareness week was held during June 2009, focusing on the need to improve survival for young people with this disease, and demanding greater priority, more research and new treatments. The week finished with a conference for patients and their supporters, which covered recent research and gave patients the opportunity to question experts in bone cancer.

Twenty-eight year-old Hannah Millington from Bromsgrove, who has been treated for osteosarcoma, said: "’Awareness Week and the Patients’ and Supporters’ Conference are key events for patients. They are an opportunity to raise awareness about this awful disease and to meet other people who are affected. Bone cancer is quite rare and it is easy for young people with the illness to feel extremely isolated."

The Awareness Week was supported by, the Teenage Cancer Trust, Sarcoma UK, Cancer 52 and the Rarer Cancers Forum.