Epithelioid Sarcoma

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Norton Children’s Cancer Institute

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Epithelioid sarcoma is a rare soft tissue cancer that typically appears in teens and young adults. Firm, painless lumps start to appear under the skin of extremities such as the fingers, hands, feet, forearms and lower legs. Sometimes the lumps develop into open sores.

Epithelioid sarcoma tends to affect males more than females, and females with the cancer tend to have a less aggressive form. Smaller tumors (less than ¾ inch in diameter) and lesions on the hands or feet that appear at an early age also tend to have better success with treatment.

Early diagnosis and treatment of epithelioid sarcoma improves the chance of long-term survival. Because the disease can appear as a benign (noncancerous) condition in its early stages, it’s crucial to get a diagnosis from a pediatric specialist with extensive experience.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained oncologists at Norton Children’s Cancer Institute, affiliated with the UofL School of Medicine, come together at regular conferences to share viewpoints from various perspectives that help determine the best course of treatment. It’s like getting second, third and fourth opinions all at once.

Our physicians actively conduct clinical trials and publish their discoveries about new ways to identify and treat sarcomas and other pediatric cancers.

By staying at the forefront of research, our physicians are experienced with newly approved therapies and can provide access to trials of experimental treatments.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Epithelioid Sarcoma

Diagnosis of epithelioid sarcoma requires skill and experience, as patients with this type of cancer typically have a mass or swelling as their only symptom. The tumor may appear to be nothing more than a common skin infection.

Examination at a comprehensive pediatric cancer center like Norton Children’s Cancer Institute means the patient is seen by specialists with experience diagnosing and treating epithelioid sarcoma. Our specialists are leaders in advancing knowledge of the disease.

MRI is a common test to determine the type and size of the mass. A small sample of tissue from the mass will be removed (biopsied) for examination by a pathologist to determine whether it is cancer.

Surgery can cure epithelioid sarcoma in cases where the cancer hasn’t spread to the lymph nodes, lungs or other locations. Surgery will involve removing the diseased tissue and some healthy tissue to reduce the risk of recurrence. In some cases, amputation may be necessary.

Radiation therapy may be used before surgery to shrink the tumor and after surgery to reduce the chance of recurrence.

Epithelioid sarcoma has the best chance of being cured when it’s treated by pediatric cancer specialists. Young adults may benefit from treatment at a children’s hospital instead of an adult-service hospital because the care team has expertise specifically in childhood diseases.

The Norton Children’s Difference

Norton Children’s Hospital’s cancer care program is one of the oldest oncology programs in the U.S. that has been continuously accredited by the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer. Backed by nearly 60 years of pediatric expertise, we have a proven cancer care team of more than 200 leading cancer specialists, including oncologists, surgeons, nurses, social workers, chaplains, behaviorists, therapists and pharmacists. This skilled, multidisciplinary team is entirely focused on the needs of your child and family.

In addition, we are home to:

  • Kentucky’s leading multidisciplinary pediatric brain tumor program
  • Kentucky’s only pediatric apheresis and pediatric photopheresis programs
  • An immunotherapy program
  • One of the country’s largest sickle cell anemia treatment programs
  • Kentucky’s leading Adolescent and Young Adult Program and Transition Clinic
  • Kentucky’s only CAR-T cell therapy treatment for pediatric patients
  • Life after cancer survivorship program
  • Pediatric bleeding and clotting program (hemostasis and thrombosis)

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