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Ewing’s Sarcoma

Definition

 

Ewing's sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor that affects children.

Alternative Names

 

Ewing's family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)

Causes

 

Ewing's sarcoma can occur any time during childhood and young adulthood, but usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. It is 10 times as common in Caucasian children as in African-American, African, and Asian children.

The tumor may start anywhere in the body, usually in the long bones of the arms and legs, the pelvis, or the chest. It may also develop in the skull or the flat bones of the trunk.

The tumor often spreads (metastasis) to the lungs and other bones. Spread at the time of diagnosis is seen in about one-third of children with Ewing's sarcoma.

Rarely, Ewing's sarcoma can occur in adults.

Symptoms

 

There are few symptoms. The most common is pain and occasionally swelling at the site of the tumor.

Children may also break a bone at the site of the tumor after a seemingly minor injury (this is called a "pathologic fracture").

Fever may also be present.

Exams and Tests

 

If a tumor is suspected, tests to locate the primary tumor and any spread (metastasis) often include:

  • Biopsy of the tumor
  • Bone scan
  • Chest x-ray
  • CT scan of the chest
  • MRI of the tumor
  • X-ray of the tumor

Treatment

 

Treatment should be done by a cancer specialist (oncologist) and often includes a combination of:

  • Chemotherapy
    • Cyclophosphamide
    • Doxorubicin
    • Etoposide
    • Ifosfamide
    • Vincristine
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgical to remove the primary tumor

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

How well a patient does depends on:

  • The location of the tumor
  • If the cancer has spread

The best chance for cure is with a combination of treatments that includes chemotherapy plus radiation or surgery, provided at a center that frequently treats this type of cancer.

Possible Complications

 

The treatments needed to fight this disease have many complications, which should be discussed on an individual basis.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Call your health care provider if your child has any of the symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma. An early diagnosis can increase the possibility of a favorable outcome.

 

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