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Cancer Health Center

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Ewing's Sarcoma

What Causes Ewing's Sarcoma?

In all Ewing family tumors, a change occurs in a cell to move a gene called EWS on chromosome No. 22 next to a section of DNA on one of several other chromosomes that causes the EWS gene to turn on. No one knows why this happens. It is not inherited; rather it occurs after the child is born. This change can be tested for in the biopsy specimen used to confirm the diagnosis.

What Are the Risk Factors for Ewing's Sarcoma and Can It Be Prevented?

There are approximately 200 new cases of Ewing's sarcoma diagnosed in the United States annually. Ewing’s sarcoma primarily involves children older than age 10, teens and adolescents, and young adults, usually up to the age of 30. Slightly more boys than girls are prone to get the disease. For unknown reasons, it occurs most often in whites and is extremely rare in African-Americans or Asian-Americans.

Compared to adult cancers, risks of most childhood cancers, including Ewing's sarcoma, cannot be affected by making lifestyle changes. Ewing's sarcoma has not been associated with any environmental risks. There are genetic changes that appear in the cells of people with Ewing's sarcoma. However, these happen after birth and are not inherited.

As there are no known risk factor that can be changed and no screening test to effectively identify someone prone to develop this cancer, there is no way to prevent it.

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