Ewing’s sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that typically affects children and young adults, though it can occur at any age and mostly occurs in and around the bones.
Typically, this can occur in any bone, but mostly begins in the leg bones and hip bones, as well as the bones in the arms, chest, skull and spine. Ewing’s sarcoma hardly ever occurs in the soft tissues of the arms, legs, abdomen, chest, neck and head.
Symptoms of Ewing’s sarcoma include:
- Bone pain
- Broken bone
- Redness/tenderness and swelling around the tumor or affected area
- Unintended weight loss and loss of appetite
- Paralysis and Incontinence if the tumor is near the spinal cord
- Paralysis, numbness and tingling sensation caused by the compression of nerves by the tumor
- Difficulty in breathing if the tumor is in the chest wall
Though Ewing’s sarcoma is not hereditary,the following are the risks of developing Ewing’s sarcoma:
- Suffering from another congenital disease
- Relapse of malignancy or bone cancer risk, especially after radiotherapy treatment for cancer
- Racially, Caucasians are at a greater risk to develop this more than Asians or African Americans
- Age wise, teenagers are more prone to develop this cancer
- Gender wise, males are prone to develop this cancer
The kind of imaging tests one has to undergo, would be the following:
- Bone scan
- Computerized tomography (CT)
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Positron emission tomography (PET)
- Biopsy, which is removing a tissue sample for lab testing to tell if it is cancerous or not and the type and grade of cancer, if any.
The following treatment options are available for Ewing’s sarcoma:
- Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is a medically recommended procedure before surgery where drugs are used to kill the cancer cells and shrink the Ewing’s sarcoma tumors and make them easier to remove. One may choose to continue Chemotherapy after surgery to kill any trace of cancer cells in the body.
- Radiation therapy: In radiation therapy, high-energy beams like X-rays and protons are used to kill cancer cells. This therapy may be recommended after surgery to kill any lingering cancer cells. Sometimes, this is used instead of surgery if the Ewing’s sarcoma is located in a part of the body that makes surgery risky or difficult. Radiation therapy is also used to relieve pain caused by Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Surgery: The aim of surgery is to remove the cancer cells, but doctors also perform surgery to maintain and normalise function and minimize disability. Surgery for Ewing’s sarcoma may involve removing a small portion of bone or removing an entire limb.