Primary bone cancer is cancer that originates in bone cells. The other way cancer can occur in bones is after spreading there from another part of the body through a process called metastasis. When it does, it's called secondary bone cancer. Secondary bone cancer is the same type of cancer that exists in the tissue or organ where it first occurred. For instance, breast cancer that spreads to the bones is still made up of breast cancer cells.
Researchers think that Ewing's sarcoma begins in a certain kind of primitive cell. And although the tumors typically start forming in bone, they can also start in the same kind of cells outside of bone. When this occurs, it's called an extraosseous Ewing's sarcoma.
Ewing tumors that grow in bone are typically found in the long bones of the legs and arms, or bones in the chest, trunk, pelvis, back, or head. In addition to the classic Ewing tumor, which is named for the doctor who first described it, James Ewing, there are two other types of bone tumor that belong to the Ewing family of tumors. One is called primitive neuroectodermal tumor or PNET. This tumor often times arises in the brain. The other is known as an Askin tumor, which usually arises in the chest wall.
There are differences in these types of tumors. But the cells that make them up are similar, they have the same DNA abnormalities, and they share proteins that aren't found in cells of other cancers. All of the cancers progress in the same way, and all are treated the same way.
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Archived: March 20, 2014
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