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Alternative Names Return to topEwing's family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
Definition Return to top
Ewing's sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor that affects children.
Causes Return to top
Ewing's sarcoma can occur any time during childhood and young adulthood, but usually develops during puberty, when bones are growing rapidly. It is uncommon in African-American, African, and Chinese children.
The tumor may arise 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.
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.
The tumor often spreads (metastasis) to the lungs and other bones. Metastasis at the time of diagnosis is present in approximately one-third of children with Ewing's sarcoma. Rarely, Ewing's Sarcoma can occur in adults.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
If a tumor is suspected, tests to locate the primary tumor and any spread (metastasis) often include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment should be done by a cancer specialist (oncologist) and often includes a combination of:
Support Groups Return to top
For additional information and resources, see cancer support group.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The prognosis depends on the location of the tumor, and whether or not the cancer has spread. The best chance for cure is with a combination of treatments that includes chemotherapy plus radiation or surgery, provided at an institution that frequently treats this type of cancer.
Possible Complications Return to top
The treatments needed to fight this disease have many complications, which should be discussed on an individual basis.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
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.
References Return to top
Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2008:12(1):89-97.
Skubitz KM, D'Adamo DR. Sarcoma. Mayo Clin Proc. 2007:82(11):1409-32.Update Date: 3/21/2008 Updated by: Stephen Grund, MD, PhD, Chief of Hematology/Oncology and Director of the George Bray Cancer Center at New Britain General Hospital, New Britain, CT. Review provided byVeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.