Treating 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 these options as well as their possible side effects.

The main goals of treatment for 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

Which treatments are used for Ewing tumors?

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.

Treatment will depend on the stage of the cancer and other factors. See Treatment of Ewing Tumors by Stage for information about the most common approaches.

Which doctors treat Ewing tumors?

Treating Ewing tumors requires a team approach that includes different types of specialists. For children and teens, treatment is best done at a children’s cancer center. For adults with Ewing tumors, treatment is typically done 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 both adults and children, the team might also include other doctors, physician assistants (PAs), nurse practitioners (NPs), nurses, psychologists, social workers, physical therapists and other rehabilitation specialists, and other health professionals. For more information, see Who Treats Children With Cancer? and Health Professionals Associated With Cancer Care.

Before treatment, the doctors and other members of the team will help you understand the tests that will need to be done. The team’s social worker will also counsel you about some of the issues that might come up during and after treatment, and might be able to help you find housing and financial aid if needed.

Making treatment decisions

The treatment for Ewing tumors is often effective, but it can also cause serious side effects. It’s important to discuss all treatment options as well as their possible side effects with the cancer care team so you can make an informed decision. It’s also very important to ask questions if you’re not sure about anything. You can find some good questions to ask in Questions to Ask the Doctor About Ewing Tumors.

The treatment team will also help you take care of side effects and can help you work closely with nutritionists, psychologists, social workers, and other professionals to understand and deal with medical problems, stress, and other issues related to the treatment.

For cancer in children and teens, many of these issues can be more complex. As a parent, taking care of a child with cancer can be a very big job. It’s important to remember that you will have a lot of help. Many people will be involved in your child’s overall care. It’s also important to know that the health professionals who treat children with Ewing Tumors are using the experience and knowledge gained from many decades of studying the treatment of this disease. To learn more about some of the unique issues that children and teens with cancer and their families might face, see When Your Child Has Cancer.

Thinking about taking part in a clinical trial

Today, most children and teens with cancer are treated at specialized children’s cancer centers. These centers offer the most up-to-date-treatment by conducting clinical trials (studies of promising new therapies). Children’s cancer centers often conduct many clinical trials at any one time, and in fact most children treated at these centers take part in a clinical trial as part of their treatment.

Adults with cancer also typically have the option to participate in a clinical trial. Clinical trials are one way to get state-of-the art cancer treatment. In some cases they may be the only way to get access to newer treatments. They are also the best way for doctors to learn better methods to treat cancer. Still, they might not be right for everyone. Talk to your treatment team to learn about possible clinical trials, and ask about the pros and cons of enrolling in one of them.

If you would like to learn more about clinical trials, start by asking the treatment team if your clinic or hospital conducts clinical trials. See Clinical Trials to learn more.

Considering complementary and alternative methods

You may hear about alternative or complementary methods to treat the cancer or relieve symptoms that the treatment team hasn’t mentioned. These methods can include vitamins, herbs, and special diets, or other methods such as acupuncture or massage, to name a few.

Complementary methods refer to treatments that are used along with regular medical care. Alternative treatments are used instead of standard medical treatment. Although some of these methods might be helpful in relieving symptoms or helping people feel better, many have not been proven to work. Some might even be dangerous.

Be sure to talk to the cancer care team about any method you are thinking about using. They can help you learn what is known (or not known) about the method, which can help you make an informed decision. See Complementary and Alternative Medicine to learn more.

Help getting through cancer treatment

The cancer care team will be your first source of information and support, but there are other resources for help when you need it. Hospital- or clinic-based support services can alse be an important part of care. These might include nursing or social work services, financial aid, nutritional advice, physical rehab, or spiritual help. For children and teens with cancer and their families, other specialists can be an important part of care as well. For more information, see When Your Child Is Going Through Cancer Treatment.

The American Cancer Society also has programs and services – including rides to treatment, lodging, and more – to help get through treatment. Call our National Cancer Information Center at 1-800-227-2345 and speak with one of our trained specialists.

The treatment information given here is not official policy of the American Cancer 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 doctors. Your doctors may have reasons for suggesting a treatment plan different from these general treatment options. Don't hesitate to ask them questions about your treatment options.