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General Information About Ewing Family of Tumors


A biopsy is done to diagnose Ewing family of tumors.

Cells and tissues are removed during a biopsy so they can be viewed under a microscope by a pathologist to check for signs of cancer. The specialists (pathologist, radiation oncologist, and surgeon) who will treat the patient usually work together to plan the biopsy. This is done so that the biopsy incision doesn't affect later treatment with surgery to remove the tumor and radiation therapy. It is helpful if the biopsy is done at the same center where treatment will be given.

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

  • Light and electron microscopy: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under regular and high-powered microscopes to look for certain changes in the cells.
  • Cytogenetic analysis: A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are viewed under a microscope to look for certain changes in the chromosomes.
  • Reverse-transcriptionpolymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR): A laboratory test in which cells in a sample of tissue are studied using chemicals to look for certain changes in the genes.
  • 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:

  • Where in the body the tumor started.
  • How large the tumor is at diagnosis.
  • Whether the tumor has spread to distant parts of the body.
  • Whether the tumor has certain genetic changes.
  • The patient's age, gender, and general health.
  • Whether the tumor has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

After treatment, prognosis is affected by:

  • Whether the tumor was completely removed by surgery.
  • Whether the cancer came back more than two years after the initial treatment.

Treatment options depend on the following:

  • Where the tumor is found in the body and how large the tumor is.
  • The patient's age and general health.
  • The effect the treatment will have on the patient's appearance and important body functions.
  • Whether the cancer has just been diagnosed or has recurred (come back).

Decisions about surgery may depend on how well the initial treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy works.


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: March 09, 2010
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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