Key Points about Ewing’s Sarcoma
- Ewing’s sarcoma is cancer that affects the bone or soft tissue near the bone.
- Doctors use imaging tests, biopsy and physical exams to diagnose Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma may include surgery, chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy.
Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the bones or soft tissue around the bones. This cancer can affect any bone in the body, but most often affects the legs, bones or pelvis. It most often affects children and teenagers. Ewing’s sarcoma more rarely occurs in the chest, abdomen or arms.
Ewing’s sarcoma causes
Ewing’s sarcoma is caused when mutations (changes) occur in the soft tissue or bone cells, and then those cells grow and multiply quickly.
Ewing’s sarcoma risk factors
The following factors may increase your risk for developing Ewing’s sarcoma:
- Being a child or teenager
- Having European ancestry
Ewing’s sarcoma symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Ewing’s sarcoma can include:
- Pain, swelling or tenderness near the affected bone
- Unexplained fatigue
- Unexplained fever
- Unintentional weight loss
Ewing’s sarcoma diagnosis
Your oncologist may use one or more of the following tests to diagnose this condition:
- Physical exam – your doctor will perform a complete physical exam, including asking questions about your health history, symptoms and related risk factors.
- Biopsy – in this test, your doctor removes a biopsy (small sample) from the suspicious area. This sample is sent to the laboratory, where a specialist closely checks the biopsy for signs of Ewing’s sarcoma, such as the changes in the EWSR1 gene.
- Computerized tomography (CT) scan – this type of imaging test provides a 3D image of the inside of the body that your doctor can use to determine the size and location of the Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – this type of imaging test uses high-powered magnets to create detailed images of the inside of your body. Your doctor can closely examine these images to determine the size and location of the Ewing’s sarcoma.
Ewing’s sarcoma treatments
Depending on your personal health history, the extent of the cancer and other factors, your oncologist may recommend one or more of the following treatment options:
- Surgery – you may need to undergo surgery to remove the cancerous area. Your surgeon will work to preserve as much surrounding healthy tissue as possible.
- Chemotherapy – you may need to also undergo chemotherapy to destroy any cancerous cells that couldn’t be removed surgically. During this treatment, medication is used to destroy cancerous cells. Chemotherapy can be taken via an oral (by mouth) pill or intravenously (through a vein).
- Radiation therapy – this treatment uses high-powered energy beams to destroy cancerous cells. You may need to undergo radiation therapy to destroy any cancerous cells that couldn’t be removed surgically.
When should I seek care?
If you experience any of these symptoms, start by voicing your concerns and symptoms to your primary care provider. Your doctor may suggest seeing an oncologist for more specialized treatment.