How Will Ewing's Sarcoma affect me in the Longer Term?

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This information has been written for patients, their families and friends and the general public to help you learn more about and understand the things that can affect the outcome of Ewing's sarcoma.

Prognosis

The word 'prognosis' (PROG-noh-siss) refers to what doctors think the chances are of the patient's cancer being cured with treatment or the likelihood of it returning. This depends on many different things, which vary between different patients.

In general, the prognosis for Ewing's sarcoma depends on:

  • The patient's age and general health,

  • The location and size of the Ewing's sarcoma,

  • Results of investigations; the stage of the Ewing's sarcoma, whether it is localised or metastatic (spread), or recurrent (come back),

  • How much of the cancer could be removed by surgery,

  • Response to treatment, for example, how effective was chemotherapy prior to surgery,

  • Whether lung (pulmonary) metastases can be removed with surgery (resectable).

Doctors cannot be certain about a patient's prognosis as each patient and each cancer can behave differently.

The overall 5-year survival rate for Ewing's sarcoma is around 60%. The term 5-year survival rate can sound quite misleading and worrying to some people. Tthe term does not mean people only lived for 5 years after diagnosis; it refers to the fact that 60 out of every 100 people with Ewing's sarcoma are alive 5 years after their diagnosis. These people may not all be cured; some may be still be undergoing treatment.

Detailed survival and incidence rates for Ewing's sarcoma will be available on BCRT's pages for healthcare professionals, which will also be fully accessible to patients, families and the general public.

Follow up care

After finishing treatment, Ewing's sarcoma patients will require follow up care. Outpatient hospital visits will be needed on a regular basis for the first few years after treatment and then probably yearly after that.

These visits will help to keep an eye on a patient's general health as well as an opportunity to carry out some tests. These tests are very important because they can show up any 'late effects' from the cancer treatment.

Follow up care with an orthopaedic surgeon also helps to look out for surgery-related complications and to make sure the limb is working well.

What are late effects?

Late effects are problems after cancer treatments such as chemotherapy that may show up after treatment has finished. Chemotherapy targets cancer cells but they can also damage organs and kill healthy cells. The tests carried out in a patient's follow up care can spot these late effects early. Different chemotherapy drugs can have different late effects.

Types of Late Effects from Ewing's Sarcoma Therapies and Drug/ Treatment Causing it

Problems/ Late Effects

Drug/ Treatment

Heart problems (cardiotoxicity)

Doxorubicin, cyclophosphamide

Renal/ Kidney problems (nephrotoxicity)

Ifosfamide

Osteopenia (mineral loss from bone)

Radiotherapy

Fertility problems (more likely in males than females)

Ifosfamide, radiotherapy

Numbness, tingling or weakness (Neurotoxicity)

Ifosfamide

Liver problems (hepatotoxicity), very rare

Ifosfamide, radiation therapy with chemotherapy

Second malignancy (cancer)

Ifosfamide, etoposide, doxorubicin, Actinomycin D, radiotherapy when used.

Last reviewed: October 2010; Version: 1.1
Review due: October 2011

The authors and reviewers of this information are committed to producing reliable, accurate and up to date content reflecting the best available research evidence, and best clinical practice. We aim to provide unbiased information free from any commercial conflicts of interest. This article is for information only and should not be used for the diagnosis or treatment of medical conditions. BCRT can answer questions about primary bone cancers, including treatments and research but we are unable to offer specific advice about individual patients. If you are worried about any symptoms please consult your doctor.

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