Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that affects the bones or soft tissues. It typically occurs in children and young adults and can be very aggressive. Treatment usually involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, it’s important to learn as much as you can about the condition. This will help you make informed decisions about treatment and care. This guide will cover everything you need to know about Ewing’s sarcoma, including its symptoms, causes, diagnosis, and treatment options.
What Is Ewing’s Sarcoma?
Ewing’s sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the bones or soft tissues. It most commonly affects the long bones of the arms and legs but can also occur in the pelvis, ribs, and spine.
Ewing’s sarcoma is named after Dr. James Ewing’s, who first described the condition in 1921. It’s a rare cancer, accounting for just 1% of all childhood cancers. In the United States, there are about 250 new cases diagnosed each year.
Ewing’s sarcoma most often occurs in children and young adults between 10 and 20. It’s slightly more common in males than females.
What Causes Ewing’s Sarcoma?
The exact cause of Ewing’s sarcoma is unknown. However, it’s thought to develop from a mutation in a type of cell called the primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET). These cells are found in the bone marrow and other tissues.
It’s unclear what causes the PNET cells to mutate and become cancerous. However, some risk factors may increase your child’s chance of developing Ewing’s sarcoma, such as:
- A family history of the condition
- Certain genetic disorders, such as neurofibromatosis type 1 or Li-Fraumeni syndrome
- Exposure to high levels of radiation
What Are the Symptoms of Ewing’s Sarcoma?
Ewing’s sarcoma often starts with pain in the affected bone. The pain may come and go at first and worsen with activity. Other symptoms may include:
- Swelling or tenderness in the affected area
- Bone fractures
- Weight loss
If cancer spreads to other parts of the body, additional symptoms may develop, such as:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Vision problems
Other conditions can also cause these symptoms. If your child is experiencing any of them, it’s essential to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
How Is Ewing’s Sarcoma Diagnosed?
Ewing’s sarcoma is usually diagnosed after a biopsy of the affected tissue. A biopsy is a procedure in which a small sample of tissue is removed for examination.
Once the cancerous cells are identified, imaging tests such as X-rays, MRIs, and CT scans may be performed to determine if cancer has spread to other body parts.
How Is Ewing’s Sarcoma Treated?
The standard treatment for Ewing’s sarcoma involves a combination of surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Surgery is typically used to remove the tumor. If cancer has spread to other parts of the body, additional surgery may be needed to remove those tumors.
→ Radiation therapy:
It uses high-energy beams to kill cancer cells. It’s usually given after surgery to help prevent cancer from coming back.
is a type of cancer treatment that uses drugs to kill cancer cells. It’s often given as an infusion into a vein but can also be taken as a pill.
What Is the Outlook for Children with Ewing’s Sarcoma?
The outlook for children with Ewing’s sarcoma has improved significantly in recent years. With treatment, the 5-year survival rate is now about 70%.
However, Ewing’s sarcoma can be a very aggressive cancer. In some cases, it may come back even after treatment. That’s why it’s important for children who have been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma to have regular follow-up appointments with their doctor.
Ewing’s sarcoma can potentially return after treatment. Hence, you may have a slightly higher chance of developing a second kind of cancer later in life. So, going for regular tests and monitoring is the best way of catching any future developments early and improving your overall chances of survival.
If you have any questions or concerns about Ewing’s sarcoma, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or bone cancer oncologist. They can provide you with more information and support.
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