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Ewing Sarcoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Ewing Sarcoma


A biopsy is done to diagnose Ewing sarcoma.

Tissue samples are removed during an incisional or needle biopsy so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. It is helpful if the biopsy is done at the same center where treatment will be given.

  • Incisional biopsy: For an incisional biopsy, a sample of tissue is removed through an incision in the skin. The specialists (pathologist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon) who will treat the patient usually work together to decide where the incision should be made. This is done so that the biopsy incision doesn't affect later treatment such as surgery to remove the tumor or radiation therapy.
  • Needle biopsy: For a needle biopsy, tissue is removed using a needle. This type of needle biopsy may be done if it's possible to remove tissue samples large enough to be used for testing.

If there is a chance that the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, one or more lymph nodes may be removed and checked for signs of cancer.

The following tests may be done on the tissue that is removed:

  • Cytogeneticanalysis: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes.
  • Immunohistochemistry study: A laboratory test in which a substance such as an antibody, dye, or radioisotope is added to a sample of tissue to test for certain antigens. This type of study is used to tell the difference between different types of cancer.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on certain factors before and after treatment.

Before treatment, prognosis depends on:

  • Whether the tumor has spread to distant parts of the body.
  • Whether the tumor has spread to nearby lymph nodes.
  • Where in the body the tumor started.
  • How large the tumor is at diagnosis.
  • Whether the tumor has certain gene changes.
  • Whether the child is younger than 15 years.
  • The patient's gender.
  • Whether the tumor has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).
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