Ewing's sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor that affects children.
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 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.
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.
If a tumor is suspected, tests to locate the primary tumor and any spread (metastasis) often include:
Treatment should be done by a cancer specialist (oncologist) and often includes a combination of:
For additional information and resources, see cancer support group.
How well a patient does depends on:
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.
The treatments needed to fight this disease have many complications, which should be discussed on an individual basis.
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.
Ewing's family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
Baker LH. Bone tumors: primary and metastatic bone lesions. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 208.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bone Cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network; 2012. Version 2.2012.
Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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