Flyers’ Oskar Lindblom’s Rare Cancer Diagnosis: What Is Ewing’s Sarcoma?

Getty Oskar Lindblom #23 of the Philadelphia Flyers

The Philadelphia Flyers announced deeply upsetting news about Oskar Lindblom, the team’s power forward on Friday. The 23-year-old was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma by leading specialists at the University of Pennsylvania, the Flyers said in an official statement.

“He will undergo further testing and evaluation next week and begin treatment immediately thereafter,” the statement from Flyers’ General Manager Chuck Fletcher read. “He is not expected to return to play for the remainder of the season. The Flyers will do everything possible to support Oskar and assist him in securing the best care available.”

Lindblom missed a game on Wednesday after suffering what was described as an upper body-injury. Flyers coach Alain Vigneault said to the Philadelphia Inquirer he “wasn’t quite sure yet” about the seriousness of his injury, and recalled winger David Kase from the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms to take his place in the line-up.

After being selected by the Flyers in the fifth round (No. 138 overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft, the Swedish hockey player signed a three-year entry-level contract with the franchise in 2017. Lindblom was at first assigned with the Phantoms, but was called up to the NHL on February 19, 2018. He recorded his first point on March 17, 2018, and scored his first goal as a Flyer the next day while the team played against the Washington Capitals. Lindblom then helped his team reach Round 1 of the Stanley Cup playoffs that year.

In 2019, Lindblom is tied with forward Travis Konceny for team leader in goals. The rising star has 57 points (30 goals and 27 assists) throughout his three seasons in the NHL thus far. He’s played in four Stanley Cup playoff games, but has not recorded a goal during the post-season.

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Excited for tonight

A post shared by Oskar Lindblom (@oskarlindblom) on Oct 4, 2019 at 3:34am PDT

This past year, Lindblom was selected to make his senior international debut with his home country of Sweden at the World Championships held in Bratislava, Slovakia.

In late November, Lindblom sported a violet jersey with the rest of his Flyers’ teammates to support cancer research. He proudly posted a photo on Instagram with the caption of a purple heart and the hashtag, “Hockey fights cancer.” There is currently no timetable for Lindblom’s return.

What Is Ewing’s Sarcoma?

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? #hockeyfightscancer

A post shared by Oskar Lindblom (@oskarlindblom) on Nov 26, 2019 at 3:56pm PST

As defined by the Mayo Clinic, Ewing’s sarcoma is an rare type of cancer that occurs in the bones or the soft tissue around the bones. This type of cancer often beings in the long bones of the pelvis, legs, or arms, but can occur in any bone. While it happens less often, Ewing sarcoma can also take place in the soft tissues of the arms, legs, abdomen, or other parts of the body.

While Ewing sarcoma is most common in teenagers and young adult, it can occur at any stage in life. Symptoms include pain and swelling in the affected areas, bone pain, which can worsen at night or with physical activity, unexplained tiredness, fever with no cause, unintended weight loss, or bones breaking without incident.

While there are no ways to prevent Ewing’s sarcoma, it’s neither genetic or linked to environmental issues, it can be treated depending on how early the cancer was detected. Treatment options include chemotherapy, surgery to remove the cancerous cells, which may involved removing small portions of the infected bone, or an entire limb, depending on the tumor’s size.

Patients may also opt for radiation therapy, which uses high-energy laser beams to kill cancer cells.

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