When it comes to diagnosing Ewing’s Sarcoma, doctors will look for the more common conditions first. These conditions will include soft tissue and muscle injuries, as well as bone fractures or breaks.
This means the first medical test will normally be an X-ray, which will show up any breaks or fractures. If there is evidence of a fracture or break, that may be the only test required to clear up the condition.
There are then a range of tests doctors can do if they still suspect a bone tumour. These will vary from patient to patient, but most patients will experience more than one.
An MRI is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan organised by your doctor to get a look at the bone and soft tissue around the affected area. It provides more information than an X-ray and allows them to gain more information without more invasive procedures.
Blood cells are created in the bone marrow in bones. Testing patients’ blood is common for a range of conditions, and provides a great deal of information about the functioning of the body.
Blood tests can provide important information about enzymes present, how many cells are in the bloodstream to transport oxygen, fight infections and form clots.
A bone scan provides a full body scan of all of the bones in the body. It involves a small amount of radioactive dye being injected into the body. This dye is absorbed by bones with any abnormalities. After the dye has time to be absorbed, a scanner will take an image of the body. Any abnormalities will show up on the image produced.
Biopsies are the most invasive diagnostic tests. They involve taking a small sample of the suspected tumour to subject it to a number of tests. From this sample, specialists can do a number of tests in a laboratory to analyse the cellular make-up of the tumour, and determine whether it is in fact Ewing’s Sarcoma, or another type of tumour. There are a number of benign tumours as well as the types of bone cancer.
CT scans are often conducted after the diagnosis of cancer is confirmed, to determine whether it is localised (contained in the bone) or is metastatic (has spread). Ewing’s Sarcoma metastases often appear in the lungs of patients. Therefore, after being diagnosed, doctors look to determine whether there is any abnormalities in the lungs.
These scans involve the injection of contrast, before a camera rotates extremely fast around the body taking a number of images used to build up a 3D picture of the body.
A number of other tests will be conducted, to determine whether the key organs in the body are functioning correctly before treatment can start. Heart and kidney function will be closely monitored during and after treatment.