What is Ewing Sarcoma?
Ewing sarcoma is an aggressive cancer which can affect bone or soft tissue. It is most commonly found in children, teens and young adults between the ages of 10 and 20, though it can occur at any age.
Ewing sarcoma is also referred to as the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors (ESFT), peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PPNET), Askin tumor or extraosseous Ewing sarcoma (EOE).
Although research continues, there is currently no known cause for Ewing sarcoma. It is not hereditary and most of the genetic changes leading to disease occur after birth.
While the solid tumor can start in any bone or soft tissue, the most common areas of origin are the lower extremity, pelvis and chest wall.
This cancer can spread or metastasize. At diagnosis, 1 in 4 people will be told the cancer has spread. The most common site of spread is to the lungs.
Know the Signs
Symptoms of this cancer:
- Breaking a bone from a minor injury or for no apparent reason
- Swelling or a lump at the site of the tumor
- Pain near the site of the tumor
- Pain that is disproportionate to an injury and does not appear to get better with time
- Weight loss
Ewing sarcoma is often misdiagnosed as a sports injury, growing pains or an inflammatory condition.
What Happens Next?
See your family doctor immediately for a full history and complete physical examination.
Talk to your doctor about getting an x-ray, CT scan or MRI of the area of concern.
If the diagnostic imaging suggests the possibility of Ewing sarcoma, you will likely be referred to an orthopedic surgeon who will arrange for a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis, followed by a referral to the nearest cancer center for a follow-up treatment plan with an oncologist.
Treatment and Cure
The standard treatment protocol for Ewing sarcoma includes a combination of chemotherapy, radiation and/or surgery. The average 5-year survival for this treatment protocol is approximately 70%.
If the patient has metastases (spread of disease) or recurrence, the chance of survival with the standard protocol drops significantly to approximately 20%.
Options for treatment beyond the standard protocol can be discussed with your Oncologist and may include immunotherapy (designed to boost the body's natural defense mechanism to fight cancer) or targeted therapy (uses various substances to target and treat certain cancer cells while sparing normal cells from damage). These treatments may only be offered at specialized centers for Ewing sarcoma.
What is Being Done to Help?
The Ewings Cancer Foundation of Canada is committed to educating the public about Ewing sarcoma and raising awareness among health care professionals with a goal of early detection.
Early Detection is VITAL!
Take a Closer Look
Contact the Ewings Cancer Foundation of Canada for information and local support
More information can be found: www.cancer.gov/types/bone/patient/ewing-treatment-pdq