What to Know About Chemotherapy for Ewing's Sarcoma

Chemotherapy is the use of medicines to kill cancer cells. For this treatment, you will see an oncologist. This is a doctor who specializes in using drugs to treat cancer. Cancer cells divide quickly, and anticancer drugs kill rapidly dividing cells.

Common Chemotherapy Drug Combinations

For Ewing's sarcoma, your doctor is likely to give you more than one drug. You will probably take these drugs through an IV into a vein or in a pill by mouth. Either way, chemotherapy is a systemic treatment because the drugs travel throughout the whole body in the bloodstream.

A few combinations of chemotherapy drugs are used to treat people with Ewing's sarcoma. These are the first group of drugs you may take.

  • Oncovin (vincristine)

  • Adriamycin (doxorubicin)

  • Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide)

After you have recovered from the side effects of these drugs, you may get this next combination of drugs.

  • Ifex (ifosfamide)

  • Vepesid (etoposide)

How and Where You Get Chemotherapy

You may have chemotherapy treatments in an outpatient part of the hospital, at the doctor's office, or at home. In some cases, depending on your health or the medicines you take, you may need to stay in the hospital during treatment.

Soon after your diagnosis, your doctor may suggest inserting a special device called an indwelling or permanent catheter into a large vein in your chest. These catheters are often called Broviac,  Hickman, or Port-A-Cath. A surgeon places the device in you while you are asleep from anesthesia. The catheter allows the doctors and nurses to give you chemotherapy without having to stick a needle into your veins each time, which makes the process less painful.

You get chemotherapy in cycles. This means you will be treated for a period of time with chemotherapy and then will have a rest period. It usually takes two to three weeks to recover from the treatment. Each treatment and rest period make up one cycle. You'll likely have many cycles of treatment. Your doctor will better explain what your treatment plan will be and what you can expect.

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