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Ewing's Sarcoma -- Child

Definition

Ewing sarcoma is a type of cancer that occurs in the bone or soft tissue . Areas that are commonly affected include the pelvis, thigh, lower leg, upper arm, and chest wall. Prognosis depends on the location of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.

Leg and Pelvic Bones—Common Sarcoma Sites
Leg bones
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Causes

It is thought that Ewing sarcoma is caused by a genetic problem.

Risk Factors

Factors that increase the risk of Ewing sarcoma include:

  • Race: Caucasians are more likely to get this type of cancer than people who are African American or Asian
  • Age: More common among teenagers

Symptoms

Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling surrounding the tumor
  • Difficulty moving around
  • Fever
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Paralysis and loss of bladder control (in cases where the tumor is near the spinal cord)
  • Numbness, tingling, and paralysis (caused by compression of nerves by the tumor)
  • Difficulty breathing if the tumor is in the chest wall

Ewing sarcoma can also weaken the bone leading to unexplained fracture of the bone.

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. Ewing may be suspected if a bone breaks after a minor injury. A sample of the tissue will be removed and sent for examination, also called a biopsy .

Images of the body may be taken to locate the tumor and determine if it has spread to other tissues. Images may be taken with:

Treatment

Your child will work with a team of doctors. Talk with the team to determine the best treatment options for your child. These options include:

Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy

Chemotherapy is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used along with radiation therapy . This is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.

Surgery

Surgery may be used to remove the tumor.

Surgery may also be done to rebuild the affected bone. A bone graft will help to replace smaller areas of missing bone. An artificial limb may be needed if larger areas of the bone are affected. There are special types of artificial limbs that expand as the bone grows. Several surgeries may be needed to make sure the limb functions properly.

Stem Cell Transplant

Stem cells grow into blood cells and platelets. The cancer and the treatments can damage stem cells which makes it difficult for the body to produce healthy blood cells. A stem cell transplant can help replace the damaged stem cells. The new cells are injected into a vein, and travel to the bone cavities where they will grow and begin work.

Rehabilitation Therapy

Physical and occupational therapy will help your child manage physical challenges including:

  • Re-learnig how to do daily tasks
  • Resuming physical activity
  • Learning how to use a prosthesis

Other therapists or specialists will also help your child through emotional challenges of illness and treatment.

Prevention

There is no known way to prevent this condition.

Revision Information

  • Cancer Index

    http://www.cancerindex.org

  • United States National Library of Medicine

    http://www.nlm.nih.gov

  • About Kids Health

    http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca

  • Alberta Children's Services

    http://www.child.alberta.ca

  • Children’s Hospital Boston. Ewing’s sarcoma. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at: http://www.childrenshospital.org/az/Site852/mainpageS852P0.html. Accessed June 19, 2013.

  • Ewing sarcoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 1, 2013. Accessed June 19, 2013.

  • Ewing’s sarcoma. National Cancer Institue website. Available at: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/ewings/Patient#Keypoint2. Accessed June 19, 2013.

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