Ewing’s sarcoma is a cancerous tumor that usually affects children and adolescents. It develops in the bones or soft tissue near them, most frequently the arms, legs, ribs, spinal column, and pelvis.
The cancer was first identified in 1920s by the American pathologist James Ewing, who named the disease. Ewing’s sarcoma is treated with a combination of treatment modalities that can include chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. If the disease is diagnosed early and treated properly, children with the disease often have a good chance of recovery.
Ewing’s Sarcoma Symptoms
It is common to misdiagnose Ewing’s Sarcoma as growing pains, since it has a gradual onset of symptoms. The disease may also be unnoticed as the result of a sports injury, thanks to the fact that its symptoms usually are similar to typical childhood injuries.
One of the most common symptoms is soreness close to the tumor localization; this can be followed by swelling or warmth in the same area. During exercise and at night, is common for people with the disease to feel an increase in pain. A few weeks after the pain begins, some people will eventually feel a tender lump in the affected zone. Unexplained limps can occur in children with the tumor sited in a leg bone. It is also possible to experience low-grade fever.
Sometimes, the first sign of the Ewing’s Sarcoma is a broken leg or arm that occurs for no apparent reason,or after a minor accident. This happens when the bone is weakened by the cancer, and is easier to break.
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Ewing’s Sarcoma Diagnosis
During diagnosis, doctors will perform a medical history of the child, followed by physical examination. X-rays, MRIs, and bone scans can be ordered by the doctor to look for abnormalities in bone structure. It is also necessary to take a tissue sample of the tumor using a procedure called a biopsy that will collect samples for lab analyses in order to diagnose Ewing’s sarcoma.
After a diagnosis is made, additional imaging tests will be ordered to see if the cancer has spread throughout the body. Other exams will be used in order to assure that that vital organs, like the heart and kidneys, are working normally and are ready to handle the treatment.
Treatments For Ewing’s Sarcoma
As in other forms of cancer, the treatment path for Ewing’s Sarcoma varies from case to case and depends on many factors, such as the location and size of the tumor and whether there are metastases or not.
All Ewing’s Sarcoma patients undergo chemotherapy initially to shrink the tumor, before surgical removal or radiation. Chemo will also help to prevent cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the organism. After the tumor is removed, chemotherapy is used to make sure that cancerous cells won’t return.
When there’s need for surgery, radiation is also applied to shrink the tumor prior to the surgical removal. If the location of the tumor makes surgery too risky of an option, radiation may be a recommended alternative.
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Ewing’s Sarcoma Prognosis
A patient with Ewing sarcoma who is diagnosed prematurely and doesn’t have metastases has a 70% chance of being cured. The treatment gets more complicated when the cancer has spread, nevertheless, the right combination of treatments and therapies available and under development nowadays help to improve the outlook for children with Ewing’s sarcoma.
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