My uncle Herm was diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma when he was in his mid-20s; it was found in his leg. He lived with this rare cancer for 10 years before he passed away from it. He died before I was born, so I didnt know anything about it. Years later when I was a teenager my cousin Joe was diagnosed with the same type of cancer, he was also in his 20s. Joes cancer was found in his chest, he didnt live as long with the cancer. He passed when he was only 27. Joe and I were really close, so I got interested in the type of cancer. His doctor said that it was a rare type of cancer that was hereditary to the identical. This made me very interested. Looking at pictures of Joe and my Uncle Herm you could not tell them apart. I wanted to know if it is true that Ewings Sarcoma is hereditary to the identical because there were two people in my family that were diagnosed with this type of cancer and they were identical. Joe never had any children, so if the cancer is hereditary to the identical then the cancer gene stopped with him. Ewings Sarcoma is a very rare cancer in adults; it has usually spread to other parts of the body when it is detected.
Ewings Sarcoma is a form of bone cancer and is typically found in teenagers when they undergo growth spurts, but it can occur at any age. Ewings Sarcoma is very rare in adults. Ewings Sarcoma accounts for about one to two percent of childhood cancers. There are about 225 children and adolescents diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma in the United States each year (Brigham and Womens Hospital, 2010-2012). It is the second most common malignant bone tumor in children and adolescents. Adult patients with Ewings Sarcoma/PNET at highest risk for death are those older than 26 years and have metastatic disease or an extra osseous primary tumor.
There are more males that are affected than females. Ewings Sarcoma is most often found in children between the ages of 10 and 20. Ewings Sarcoma usually appears in the middle of the long bones of the arms and legs, or in the bones of the pelvis, and often invades the muscles and soft tissue next to the tumor site. Ewings Sarcoma can also spread to other parts of the body, including the bone marrow, other bones, lungs, kidneys, and the adrenal gland. Sometimes the tumor remains in the soft tissues of the body and does not involve bone.
The exact cause of Ewings Sarcoma is not fully understood. Researchers have discovered chromosomal changes in a cells DNA that can lead to Ewings Sarcoma formation. These changes are not inherited. The changes develop in children after they are born for no apparent reason (Brigham and Womens Hospital, 2010-2012). Genetics play a major role in Ewings Sarcoma. Nine out of ten people diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma have a genetic abnormality that makes them susceptible. There are no screening tests to detect early signs of bone cancer, including Ewings Sarcoma. Researchers think that Ewings Sarcoma begins in a certain kind of primitive cell (WebMD, n.d.).
The symptoms that come with Ewings Sarcoma could resemble other medical conditions or problems, so a physician should be consulted for a diagnosis. There are symptoms one can look for. The symptoms may include:
* Pain around the site of the tumor
* Swelling and redness around the site of the tumor
* Unexplained Fever
* Weight loss, decreased appetite
* Paralysis or incontinence (if the tumor is in the spinal region) The Brigham and Womens Hospital (2010-2012)
Symptoms related to nerve compression from tumor (e.g., numbness, tingling, paralysis, etc.). A physician can diagnose Ewings Sarcoma. It is difficult to distinguish Ewings Sarcoma from other similar tumors. Diagnosis is often made by excluding all other common tumors, and by the use of genetic studies. Multiple imaging studies, including the following:
* Radionuclide bone scans
* Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
* Computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan)
* Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
* Blood tests, including blood chemistries
* Biopsy of the tumor
* Bone marrow aspiration/biopsy the number, size, and maturity of blood cells and abnormal cells and to detect cancer cells.
There are treatments available for patients with Ewings Sarcoma. Specific treatment will be determined by your physician based on:
* Your age, health, and medical history
* Extent of the disease
* Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
* Expectations for the course of the disease
* Your opinion or preference (Johns Hopkins Medicine, n.d.).
Treatment usually involves bone cancer surgery to remove the tumor. Doctors will try to save the involved limb by replacing the removed bone with a graft or a metal prosthesis. Amputation could also be a possibility. There is also chemotherapy that may be used to treat Ewings Sarcoma. It is usually given for several cycles before surgery to try to help shrink the size of the tumor and prevent cancer spreading to other parts of the body, and often is used for several months after surgery to kill any remaining cancer cells in the body. Radiation therapy might be used as well, either instead of surgery or after surgery, depending on if the tumor can be easily removed or not.
The long-term outlook for individuals with Ewings Sarcoma is different with each individual. The use of chemotherapy has greatly improved survival rates for people with Ewings Sarcoma. If the tumor is small, localized in one area, and can be completely removed, the five year survival rate is eighty percent, or better when surgery is accompanied by radiation therapy and chemotherapy (Thompson, 2009). If the tumor is small but cannot be removed, survival rate is better than seventy percent. If the tumor is large and inoperable, the survival rate is less than sixty percent, regardless of how well the bone cancer responds to chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Some studies have suggested that adults do not do as well as children, but the studies have been criticized because they used lower doses of chemotherapy in the adults than what was used in children. Other studies have suggested that when treated aggressively, adults can do as well as children.
Early detection is very important to be able survive this aggressive type of cancer. In children with localized disease, cure rates are as high as eighty percent, and even in metastatic disease, nearly fifty percent cure rates have been reported. In about one-third of those diagnosed the cancer has spread to other areas of the body before it is diagnosed. When this happens, the five-year survival rate is less than thirty percent. Anyone who is diagnosed with Ewings Sarcoma, the most important decision to make is to seek treatment from a doctor who is experienced in treating this type of bone cancer. That may mean traveling to a Sarcoma center instead of getting treatment at a local oncology center. There are about thirty Sarcoma centers in the United States (Thompson, 2009).
Ewings Sarcoma is a form of bone cancer and is typically found in teenagers when they undergo growth spurts, but it can occur at any age. Ewings Sarcoma is very rare in adults. The exact cause of Ewings Sarcoma is not fully understood. In my research I found nothing to support what the doctor had told my family about Ewings Sarcoma being hereditary to the identical. The symptoms that come with Ewings Sarcoma could resemble other medical conditions or problems. The symptoms that come with Ewings Sarcoma could resemble other medical conditions or problems, so a physician should be consulted for a diagnosis.
It is difficult to distinguish Ewings Sarcoma from other similar tumors. Diagnosis is often made by excluding all other common tumors. Early detection is very important to be able survive this aggressive type of cancer. In about one-third of those diagnosed the cancer has spread to other areas of the body before it is diagnosed. When this happens, the five-year survival rate is less than thirty percent. The most important decision to make is to seek treatment from a doctor who is experienced in treating this type of bone cancer. That may mean traveling to a Sarcoma center instead of getting treatment at a local oncology center and there are about 30 Sarcoma centers in the United States.
Brigham and Womens Hospital. (2010-2012). Ewing Sarcoma in Adults. Retrieved from
http://healthlibrary.brighamandwomens.org/Library/Encyclopedia/85,P00116 WebMD. (n.d.). Ewings Sarcoma. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/cancer/ewings-sarcoma Johns Hopkins Medicine. (n.d.). Ewing Sarcoma in Adults. Retrieved from http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/bone_disorders/ewing_sarcoma_in_adults_85,P00116/ Thompson, D. (2009). Bone Cancer: Understanding Ewings Sarcoma. Everyday Health. Retrieved from http://www.everydayhealth.com/bone-cancer/ewings-sarcoma-bone-cancer-symptoms.aspx?&lang=en_us&output=json&session-id=01b9417f49b31b5a3438a88803d0430c