Ewing’s Sarcoma—ChildEn Español (Spanish Version)
Ewing's sarcoma is a type of cancer that occurs in the
. Areas that are commonly affected include the pelvis, thigh, lower leg, upper arm, and chest wall. Prognosis depends on the location of the tumor and whether it has spread to other parts of the body.
Leg and Pelvic Bones—Common Sarcoma Sites
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It is thought that Ewing’s sarcoma is caused by a problem with the chromosomes. Certain chromosomes (numbers 11 and 22) are rearranged. This rearrangement causes some genes to be fused together.
Some factors that increase the risk include:
- Race: People who are African American or Asian are at a lower risk compared to Caucasians.
- Age: More common among teenagers
- Gender: Slightly more common among males
Symptoms may include:
- Pain, redness, and swelling surrounding the tumor
- Difficulty moving around
- Weight loss and reduced appetite
- Paralysis and loss of bladder control (in cases where the tumor is near the spinal cord)
- Numbness, tingling, and paralysis (caused by compression of nerves by the tumor)
- Difficulty breathing if the tumor is in the chest wall
These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious conditions. If your child has any of these, talk to the doctor.
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will also be done. Tests may include:
- Bone scan
—to detect presence of a tumor in other bones
- CT scan
—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to look for cancer that has spread to other areas
- MRI scan
—a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
- PET scan
—to evaluate the metabolic activity of tissue
- Blood tests—to determine abnormalities in the blood
—to determine exactly what kind of cells the tumor is made of
Your child will work with a team of doctors. Talk with the team to determine the best treatment options for your child. These options include:
is the use of drugs to kill cancer cells. Chemotherapy may be used along with
. This is the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells.
Surgery may also be used to remove the tumor, as well as rebuild the affected bone. Depending on the location of the tumor, a
or prosthesis (artificial limb) may be needed. There are special types of prostheses that expand as the bone grows. Sometimes several surgeries are needed to make sure the limb functions properly.
Stem cells produce red and white blood cells, as well as platelets. Because of the cancer and the treatments, your child’s stem cells may be damaged. During a
stem cell transplant
, new cells are injected into a vein, and travel to the bone cavities.
Your child will need to work with a team of therapists, such as:
- Occupational therapist to help your child learn how to do daily tasks
- Physical therapist to help your child with physical activity, especially if he has a prosthesis
The team will also provide support as your child goes through treatment.
There is no known way to prevent this condition.
United States National Library of Medicine
Alberta Children's Services
Children’s Hospital Boston. Ewing’s sarcoma. Children’s Hospital Boston website. Available at:
. Accessed June 30, 2010.
Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Ewing sarcoma. Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin website. Available at:
. Accessed June 30, 2010.
DynaMed Editorial Team. Ewing sarcoma. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what.php. Updated June 29
, 2010. Accessed June 30, 2010.
Kohnle D, Kellicker P. Ewing’s sarcoma. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at:
. Updated September 30, 2010. Accessed June 30, 2010.
Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics, 18th Edition. RM Kliegman, HB Jenson, RE Behrman, BF Stanton, Editors. Saunders Elsevier, Philadelphia PA, 2007.
Last Reviewed June 2012