Skip to content

    Cancer Health Center

    Font Size
    A
    A
    A

    Ewing's Sarcoma

    How Does the Doctor Know if a Child Has Ewing's Sarcoma? continued...

    If a potential tumor has been found, the doctor will then ask for a biopsy to confirm the presence of Ewing's sarcoma. During a biopsy, cells and tissue are removed and then examined in a lab. If your child is going to have a biopsy, the specialists who will be involved in treating the cancer should take part in planning it to minimize the incidence of complications and misdiagnosis. This will insure that the incision that's made to remove the tissue won't interfere with later surgery or treatment with radiation. For children, biopsies are usually done under general anesthesia.

    Finally, if Ewing's sarcoma is confirmed, the results of the biopsy, lab tests, imaging tests, and physical exam will all be used to determine the stage of the cancer.

    How Is Ewing's Sarcoma Staged?

    Staging is a process used to determine the extent of the cancer -- whether it has spread and if so, how far. The system used for staging Ewing's Sarcoma is simpler than for a lot of other cancers. Ewing's sarcoma is classified as either localized Ewing tumors or metastatic Ewing tumors. A tumor is said to be localized only if there is no evidence of distant spread to other organs. That means it's confined to its site of origin with little spread to nearby tissues. Metastatic tumors have spread to other organs. The most common sites include the lungs, other bones, and bone marrow. It can, though, spread to other organs, including the liver and the lymph nodes.

    The stage is used to help determine both the prognosis and the appropriate treatment options. The prognosis is an indication of what the likely course of the disease is and the chances that treatment will be effective. It's often stated in terms of a five-year survival rate. For patients with localized Ewing tumors, the five-year survival rate is close to 70%. For metastatic tumors, the five-year survival rate is 20% to 30%. If the cancer has spread only to the lungs, the rate is slightly better.

    But survival rate is only a statistic. It does not predict what is going to happen for any one person. If your child is diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, keep in mind that other things beside stage can affect the prognosis. They include:

    • Size of the tumor
    • Where the main tumor is located
    • How the tumor responds to chemotherapy
    • The child's age
    • The presence of a certain genetic marker that indicates better prognosis

    Today on WebMD

    man holding lung xray
    What you need to know.
    stem cells
    How they work for blood cancers.
     
    woman wearing pink ribbon
    Separate fact from fiction.
    Colorectal cancer cells
    Symptoms, screening tests, and more.
     
    Jennifer Goodman Linn self-portrait
    Blog
    what is your cancer risk
    HEALTH CHECK
     
    colorectal cancer treatment advances
    Video
    breast cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    prostate cancer overview
    SLIDESHOW
    lung cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
     
    ovarian cancer overview slideshow
    SLIDESHOW
    Actor Michael Douglas
    Article