Ewing Sarcoma - Childhood and Adolescence: Stages

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2021

ON THIS PAGE: You will learn about how doctors describe a cancer’s growth or spread. This is called the stage. Use the menu to see other pages.

What is cancer staging?

Staging is a way of describing where the tumor is located, if or where it has spread, and whether it is affecting other parts of the body.

Doctors use diagnostic tests to find out the cancer’s stage, so staging may not be complete until all of the tests are finished. Knowing the stage helps the doctor recommend the best kind of treatment and can help predict a person’s prognosis, which is the chance of recovery. There are different stage descriptions for different types of cancer.

Although there is no official staging system for Ewing sarcoma, the following criteria help doctors describe Ewing sarcoma and work together to plan the best treatments:

  • Localized Ewing sarcoma. The tumor is only found by physical examination or by imaging in the primary site or in lymph nodes next to the tumor. Lymph nodes are the small, bean-shaped organs that help fight infection. The tumor has not spread beyond that area.

  • Metastatic Ewing sarcoma. The tumor has spread from the primary site where it began to another part of the body, such as the lungs, other bones, or bone marrow. Rarely, the disease spreads to the lymph nodes, brain, or spinal cord. Doctors will be able to quickly see evidence of tumor spread in 25% of children and young adults with Ewing sarcoma when they are diagnosed. Whether the tumor has spread is the most important factor used to determine a person’s treatment options and prognosis.

  • Recurrent Ewing sarcoma. Recurrent Ewing sarcoma is a tumor that has come back after treatment. If the cancer does return, there will be another round of tests to learn about the extent of the recurrence. These tests and scans are often similar to those done at the time of the original diagnosis.

Information about the cancer’s stage will help the doctor recommend a specific treatment plan. The next section in this guide is Types of Treatment. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.