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General Information About Ewing Sarcoma Family of Tumors

Ewing sarcoma family of tumors is a group of cancers of the bone and of soft tissue.

Ewing sarcoma family of tumors is a group of tumors that form from a certain kind of cell in bone or soft tissue. This family of tumors includes the following:

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Purpose of This Summary This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about the treatment of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (islet cell tumors). It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. Reviewers and Updates This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary...

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  • Ewing tumor of bone. This type of tumor is found in the bones of the legs, arms, chest, trunk, back, or head. There are three types of Ewing tumor of bone:
    • Classic Ewing sarcoma.
    • Primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PNET).
    • Askin tumor (PNET of the chest wall).
  • Extraosseous Ewing sarcoma (tumor growing in tissue other than bone). This type of soft tissue tumor is found in the trunk, arms, legs, head, and neck.

In some patients, the tumor may have spread by the time it is diagnosed.

Ewing tumors usually occur in teenagers and are more common in boys and Caucasians.

Possible signs of Ewing sarcoma family of tumors include swelling and pain near the tumor.

These and other symptoms may be caused by Ewing sarcoma family of tumors. Other conditions may cause the same symptoms. A doctor should be consulted if any of the following problems occur:

  • Pain and/or swelling, most commonly in the arms, legs, chest, back, or pelvis (area between the hips).
  • A lump (which may feel warm) in the arms, legs, chest, or pelvis.
  • Fever for no known reason.
  • A bone that breaks for no known reason.

Tests that examine the bone and soft tissue are used to diagnose and stage Ewing sarcoma family of tumors.

The following tests and procedures may be used to diagnose or stage Ewing sarcoma family of tumors:

  • Physical exam and history: An exam of the body to check general signs of health, including checking for signs of disease, such as lumps or anything else that seems unusual. A history of the patient's health habits and past illnesses and treatments will also be taken.
  • Complete blood count (CBC): A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the following:
    • The number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
    • The amount of hemoglobin (the protein that carries oxygen) in the red blood cells.
    • The portion of the blood sample made up of red blood cells.
  • Blood chemistry studies: A procedure in which a blood sample is checked to measure the amounts of certain substances, such as lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), released into the blood by organs and tissues in the body. An unusual (higher or lower than normal) amount of a substance can be a sign of disease in the organ or tissue that makes it.
  • Sedimentation rate: A procedure in which a sample of blood is drawn and checked for the rate at which the red blood cells settle to the bottom of the test tube.
  • X-ray: An x-ray is a type of energy beam that can go through the body and onto film, making a picture of areas inside the body.
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A procedure that uses a magnet, radio waves, and a computer to make a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body. This procedure is also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI).
  • CT scan (CAT scan): A procedure that makes a series of detailed pictures of areas inside the body, such as the chest, taken from different angles. The pictures are made by a computer linked to an x-ray machine. A dye may be injected into a vein or swallowed to help the organs or tissues show up more clearly. This procedure is also called computed tomography, computerized tomography, or computerized axial tomography.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: The removal of bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone by inserting a hollow needle into the hipbone. Samples are removed from both hipbones. A pathologist views the bone marrow, blood, and bone under a microscope to look for signs of cancer.
  • Bone scan: A procedure to check if there are rapidly dividing cells, such as cancer cells, in the bone. A very small amount of radioactive material is injected into a vein and travels through the bloodstream. The radioactive material collects in the bones and is detected by a scanner.
  • PET scan (positron emission tomography scan): A procedure to find malignant tumor cells in the body. A small amount of radioactive glucose (sugar) is injected into a vein. The PET scanner rotates around the body and makes a picture of where glucose is being used in the body. Malignant tumor cells show up brighter in the picture because they are more active and take up more glucose than normal cells do.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: October 07, 2011
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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