Ewing's sarcoma is a malignant (cancerous) bone tumor that affects children.
Ewing's family of tumors; Primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET)
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. 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.
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.
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.
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.
Baker LH. Bone tumors: primary and metastatic bone lesions. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 212.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bone Cancer. National Comprehensive Cancer Network; 2010. Version 1.2010.