Ewing’s sarcoma is a primitive neuroectodermal tumor, or PNET, that is known to develop in both children and young adults.
It usually shows up between the ages of 10 and 20. Children under 5 and adults over 30 are rarely diagnosed with this disease.
Ewing’s sarcoma is known to show up in multiple places in the body, including the pelvis, thigh, lower leg, rib and upper arm. The tumor is characterized by the presence of small, blue round cells. There have been some cases where the tumor develops on soft tissue, or extra-skeletal places.
Risk Factors and Causes
Ewing’s sarcoma can develop at any time during childhood and young adulthood, but onset typically occurs after puberty, which is when the bones in your body are growing quickly. The tumor can develop on any part of the body, but the most common areas are the chest, legs, arms and pelvis. It is also known to form in the skull or flat bones of the trunk. Swelling is a sign usually associated with the disease.
A pathologic fracture may also occur; this is when a child breaks a bone at the point where the tumor is located and it seems as though it’s only a minor injury. The tumor is known to spread to other bones and the lungs. The process of spreading is called metastasis; a third of the children diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma are at this stage.
Common Risk Factors Include:
- Ethnicity: Ewing’s Sarcoma occurs mostly in Caucasian children.
- Occupational Hazards: because of workplace chemical exposure, certain occupations such as farming may increase the risks of developing Ewing’s sarcoma.
- Chemical Exposure: Handling pesticides and insecticides can lead to Ewing’s sarcoma development. Studies have shown that pregnant women who work around the aforementioned chemicals have drastically increased Ewing’s sarcoma risk.
Signs and Symptoms
The signs and symptoms associated with Ewing’s sarcoma include:
- Pain at the Location of the Tumor
- Swelling at the Location of the Tumor
There are various methods used to treat Ewing’s sarcoma. Treatment options include:
- Radiation Therapy
- Surgical excision
Tests that are used to diagnose Ewing’s sarcoma include:
- Bone Scan
- Chest X-ray
- Skeletal X-ray
- CT Scan of the Chest
The location of the tumor,the tumor’s behavior, and the patient’s overall health are each evaluated to establish a proper prognosis.
The best ways to try to prevent developing Ewing’s sarcoma is to get checked regularly if you have a family history of the tumor. Early diagnosis is one of the best ways to prevent the tumor from progressing.