Survival Rates for Ewing Tumors

Survival rates are often used by doctors as a standard way of discussing a person’s prognosis (outlook). These numbers tell you what portion of people with the same type and stage of cancer are still alive a certain amount of time (usually 5 years) after they were diagnosed. They can’t tell you exactly what will happen with any person, but they may help give you a better understanding about how likely it is that treatment will be successful. Some people find survival rates helpful, but some people might not.

What is a 5-year survival rate?

Statistics on the outlook for a certain type and stage of cancer are often given as 5-year survival rates. The 5-year survival rate is the percentage of people who live at least 5 years after being diagnosed with cancer. For example, a 5-year survival rate of 70% means that an estimated 70 out of 100 people who have that cancer are still alive 5 years after being diagnosed. Of course, many people live much longer than 5 years (and many are cured).

But remember, the 5-year survival rates are estimates – each person’s outlook can vary based on a number of factors specific to them.

Cancer survival rates don’t tell the whole story

Survival rates are often based on previous outcomes of large numbers of people who had the disease, but they can’t predict what will happen in any person’s case. There are some important limitations to remember:

  • The 5-year survival rates below are among the most current available. But to get these numbers, doctors have to look at people who were treated at least 5 years ago. As treatments are improving over time, people who are now being diagnosed with Ewing tumors may have a better outlook than these statistics show.
  • These statistics are based on the extent of the cancer when it was first diagnosed. They do not apply to cancers that later come back or spread, for example.
  • The outlook for people with Ewing tumors varies by the stage (extent) of the cancer – in general, the survival rates are higher for people with earlier stage cancers. But many other factors can also affect a person’s outlook (see below). 

Your cancer care team can tell you how the numbers below may apply, as they are familiar with your (child’s) particular situation.

Survival rates for Ewing tumors, by stage

Localized tumors

Ewing tumors are considered to be localized if there is no obvious cancer spread to other parts of the body (even if there might be small areas of spread that can't be found on tests). With current treatment, the overall 5-year survival rate for patients with Ewing tumors that are still localized when they are first found is around 70%.

Metastatic tumors

If the cancer has clearly already spread when it is diagnosed, the 5-year survival rate is about 30%. The survival rate is slightly better if the cancer has only spread to the lungs as opposed to having reached other organs.

Other factors affecting prognosis

Factors other than the stage of the cancer can also affect survival rates. Factors that have been linked with a better prognosis include:

  • Smaller tumor size
  • Main tumor is on an arm or leg (as opposed to chest wall or pelvis)
  • Normal blood LDH level
  • Good tumor response to chemotherapy
  • Age younger than 10 years

Even when taking these other factors into account, survival rates are at best rough estimates. Your cancer care team is your best source of information on this topic.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Anderson ME, Randall RL, Springfield DS, Gebhart MC. Chapter 92: Sarcomas of bone. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2014.

DeLaney TF, Hornicek FJ. Clinical presentation, staging, and prognostic factors of the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors. UpToDate. Accessed at www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-presentation-staging-and-prognostic-factors-of-the-ewing-sarcoma-family-of-tumors on March 5, 2018.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN). Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Bone Cancer. Version 1.2018. Accessed at www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/bone.pdf on March 5, 2018.

Last Medical Review: May 31, 2018 Last Revised: May 31, 2018

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