What is Ewing Sarcoma?

Ewing Sarcoma is a rare type of bone cancer. With approximately 250 cases diagnosed in the United States each year, Ewing Sarcoma qualifies as an "orphan cancer," meaning it is an often overlooked disease which receives little recognition and research funding. The disease tends to occur most frequently in children and young adults, usually between the ages of 10 and 20 years old. While Ewing's Sarcoma can occur anywhere in the body, it is most common in the pelvis and the long tubular bones such as the femur, tibia and humerus.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Ewing Sarcoma usually consist of pain and swelling. Because symptoms are generally non-specific, diagnosis is often delayed. Tests like x-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), CT studies and nuclear medicine bone scans are used to diagnose the disease. Ultimately, a biopsy is needed for a definitive diagnosis.

Prognosis

Prognosis depends on the extent or stage of the disease. If the cancer has not spread, the survival rate can be as high as 65-70 percent with radiation, surgery and chemotherapy treatments. But if the tumor spreads to other parts of the body, most commonly the chest, other bones or central nervous system, long-term survival rate declines dramatically to 10-20 percent.

Treatment

Depending on the specific case, Ewing Sarcoma can be treated with chemotherapy, surgery and radiation therapy. The intensity and duration of chemotherapy and radiation treatments depend on the stage of the disease and whether or not it has spread to other parts of the body. Other, more experimental treatment options may exist depending on the treatment facility.

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