Ewing's sarcoma is a type of cancer that develops in the body’s soft tissues or in the bones. Although quite rare, this type of sarcoma is most commonly found in children and young adults, and the parts of the body where it is most likely to grow include the pelvis, legs, ribs, arms, or spine, though it can also spread to the bone marrow, lungs, and other regions.
Since Ewing's sarcoma is a type of sarcoma, it is treatable by an orthopedic oncologist, or an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in cancers. At University Orthopedic Surgeons, our orthopedic oncologist, Dr. Anna Wallace, is dual-fellowship-trained in orthopedic trauma and orthopedic oncology, making her more than qualified to assess, diagnose, and treat this type of cancer.
To treat Ewing's sarcoma, chemotherapy is often recommended first as a way to stop the cancer cells from growing. Next, after the tumor has become smaller due to the treatment, a surgical procedure will be performed to remove the tumor. It is the objective of the surgical oncologist to remove as much of the cancer as possible. Sometimes, after the removal, the surgeon may replace the cancerous bone tissue with an implant, or artificial bone, or add soft tissue or bone using either the patient’s own body or tissue from a donor. While there may be times when the bone may need to be removed entirely, surgeons will always use limb-sparing techniques whenever possible to avoid this.
Finally, if the surgery did not remove all the cancer, radiation therapy will be used. Radiation therapy is a type of treatment that uses radiation from high-dose X-rays or another source to kill remaining cancer cells.
Build Your Knowledge of Ewing's Sarcoma and Oncology
If your child has Ewing's sarcoma or has recently been diagnosed by an oncologist, it can be helpful to build your knowledge about sarcomas and how they are treated. Here are some terms that can help you better understand sarcomas:
- Benign tumor: A tumor without cancer. A benign bone tumor is a noncancerous bone tumor.
- Bone cyst: A noncancerous type of fluid-filled tumor that is more common in children.
- Enchondroma: A type of cartilage tumor that is benign. Enchondromas can sometimes transform into chondrosarcomas.
- Ewing tumors: Another term used to describe Ewing's sarcoma.
- Extraosseous: When the Ewing's sarcoma is located outside the bone, it is called extraosseous.
- Fibrous dysplasia: A condition where fibrous tissue begins to grow and replace normal bone and marrow, which weakens the bone.
- Malignant bone tumor: A cancerous tumor that occurs in a hard structure such as bone or cartilage versus a soft tissue such as muscle or blood vessels.
- Metastatic disease: When a disease like cancer spreads from where it began to other parts of the body, it is called a metastatic disease.
- Oncology: The field of medicine focused on diagnosing cancer as well as cancer treatment.
- Orthopedic oncology: Refers to the field of medicine focused on helping patients who have Ewing's sarcoma or another type of sarcoma.
- Osteoblastoma: A noncancerous bone tumor that often develops in the spine.
- Osteochondroma: This is a type of noncancerous tumor that often affects the long bones in the legs.
- Osteosarcoma: The most common type of primary bone cancer.
- PNET: Stands for peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumors (PNET or pPNET). These tumors develop in soft tissues or the bone. Like Ewing's sarcoma, they are made up of small-blue-round cells. However, they are different from Ewing's sarcoma in that they show more developed features of cells that are connected with the nervous system.
- Primary bone cancer: "Primary cancer" is a term used to describe the place where the cancer first developed. For example, a cancer such as Ewing's sarcoma could develop in the bones of the pelvis (primary). Later it may move to the bone marrow or other areas.
- Soft-tissue sarcomas: These are malignant soft-tissue tumors, meaning they develop in the soft tissues of the body, such as a muscle or blood vessel.
- Sarcoma: An overall term for bone cancer or soft-tissue tumors that are malignant.
Exceptional Care at University Orthopedic Surgeons
Our years of experience and advanced training devoted to the care of orthopedic issues make us who we are, but our compassionate care of our patients is what makes us dedicated to you. Our orthopedic oncologist and her team at University Orthopedic Surgeons are here to improve the health and well-being of our community, treating patients dealing with the full range of bone diseases and conditions. They are also committed to staying up to date on new treatment advances so they can offer the very best to patients.
Dr. Anna Wallace and her orthopedic oncology team are fully equipped to treat the complete range of sarcomas, including Ewing's sarcoma, as well as noncancerous soft-tissue tumors and bone tumors. They are supported by our entire team of highly experienced nurses and other clinical staff and backed by our state-of-the-art orthopedic facility.
Since we understand coping with any sarcoma and navigating your appointments and care can be challenging, we remain committed to providing you with the orthopedic oncology care you need to excel.