How is Ewing's sarcoma treated in kids?
At Children's Colorado, Ewing's sarcoma treatment typically includes chemotherapy, surgery and/or radiation therapy. Treatment methods are based on the location of the tumor and how safely it can be surgically removed. Treatment recommendations will include a combination of the following:
Chemotherapy refers to a type of medicine used to help shrink the size of the tumor and kill additional microscopic cancer cells throughout the body. It is administered through a special type of IV known as a port, which goes into a large vein in the upper chest. The port is placed surgically in the operating room.
Chemotherapy drugs are given to treat both the known tumor (mass in the bone) and other potential cancer cells throughout the body. When treating Ewing's sarcoma, chemotherapy is typically given before and after the surgical procedure to remove the tumor.
Radiation therapy is sometimes used in combination with chemotherapy in place of surgery to treat the tumor. The use of radiation therapy is determined by the location of the tumor and/or if there are tumors in other parts of the body. Your child's treatment team (orthopedic surgeon, oncologist and radiation oncologist) will determine if he or she will need radiation therapy.
The Ewing's sarcoma tumor may be surgically removed. The kind of surgery that your child will have depends on the size of the tumor and where the tumor is located. Surgical options may include:
- Limb-sparing surgery: This type of surgery removes the tumor, bone and tissues surrounding it that contain cancer cells, while leaving the surrounding muscles, nerves and blood vessels. A bone graft or metal implant will replace the bone and soft tissues that have been removed, thereby preserving the patient’s extremity (arm, leg, etc).
- Rotationplasty: In rotationplasty, the tumor, distal femur, knee and upper end of tibia are removed. The leg below the knee is rotated 180 degrees and attached to the femur. This allows the ankle joint to be used as a knee joint improving the function of an artificial leg (also known as a prosthesis). This allows the child to participate in any running or jumping activities and sports.
- Amputation: Sometimes the tumor has to be taken out with removal of the affected limb. This may be done because the tumor is too large to treat with limb-sparing surgery, or the tumor has a high risk of recurring. Children are typically very good at using and adapting to an artificial limb (prosthetics). With the help of the experts at our Amputee Program, many kids and young adults with artificial limbs are quite active and participate in sports.
Learn more about Piper's journey