Ewing Family of Tumors

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Treating Ewing Family Of Tumors TOPICS

How are Ewing tumors treated?

This information represents the views of the doctors and nurses serving on the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Information Database Editorial Board. These views are based on their interpretation of studies published in medical journals, as well as their own professional experience.

The treatment information in this document is not official policy of the Society and is not intended as medical advice to replace the expertise and judgment of your cancer care team. It is intended to help you and your family make informed decisions, together with your doctor.

Your doctor may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don’t hesitate to ask him or her questions about your treatment options.

Treatment overview for Ewing tumors

Once a Ewing tumor has been found and staged, the cancer care team will talk with you about treatment options. It’s important to be sure you understand your child’s options as well as their possible side effects to help make the decision that’s the best fit for your child. If there is anything you don’t understand, ask to have it explained. You can find some good questions to ask in the section “What should you ask the doctor about Ewing tumors?”

The main goals of treatment of Ewing tumors are:

  • To try to cure the patient
  • To keep as much function in affected parts of the body as possible
  • To limit the long-term complications of treatment as much as possible

For children and teens, a team approach is recommended that includes the child’s pediatrician as well as children’s cancer specialists. Treatment for children and teens is best done at a children’s cancer center. For adults with Ewing tumors, the treatment team typically includes the patient’s primary care doctor, as well as specialists at a major cancer center. Doctors on the treatment team might include:

  • An orthopedic surgeon (a surgeon who specializes in muscles and bones) who is experienced in treating bone tumors
  • A medical or pediatric oncologist (a doctor who treats cancer with chemotherapy and other drugs)
  • A radiation oncologist (a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy)
  • A pathologist (a doctor specializing in lab tests to diagnose and classify diseases)
  • A physiatrist (a doctor who directs a person’s rehabilitation and physical therapy)

For adults and children, the team will also include other doctors, physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists and other rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals. Going through cancer treatment often means meeting lots of specialists and learning about parts of the medical system you probably haven’t been exposed to before. For more information, see our document Children Diagnosed With Cancer: Understanding the Health Care System.

Before treatment, the doctors and other members of the team will help you, as a parent, understand the tests that will need to be done. The team’s social worker will also counsel you about the problems you and your child might have during and after treatments such as surgery, and might be able to help you find housing and financial aid if needed.

Most patients with Ewing tumors are treated in clinical trials according to national treatment guidelines called protocols. In the United States, some of the most successful protocols have been those of the Children’s Oncology Group and its forerunners. Studies from similar groups in Europe have also produced very important information. Most advances in the treatment of Ewing tumors have come from the results of these clinical trials.

The types of treatment that can be used in Ewing tumors include:

Chemotherapy is almost always the first treatment. Localized therapy (surgery and/or radiation therapy) is next, often followed by more chemotherapy. A stem cell transplant might be an option for some patients with Ewing tumors that are unlikely to be cured with other treatments.

The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for Ewing tumors. This is followed by a description of the most common approaches to treatment based on the stage (extent) of the cancer.

Last Medical Review: 09/18/2014
Last Revised: 10/02/2014