Symptoms of Ewing's Sarcoma

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Ewing's sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that typically affects children and young adults, between the ages of 10 and 20. Symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma can be vague and non-specific in the early stages, increasing in intensity with time.

It is an extremely rare disease, and its symptoms are more likely related to another, much less serious disease in most people who experience them.

Frequent Symptoms

Symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma vary based on the location of the tumor and whether it has spread. The disease most commonly afflicts the long bones of the body—the arms and the legs—and symptoms like pain and swelling are experienced in these areas. Common Ewing's sarcoma symptoms include:

  • Pain at the tumor site
  • Swelling around the site of the tumor; skin may or may not be red
  • Fever
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite

Rare Symptoms

Additional symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma depend on the location of the tumor and how advanced the cancer is.

When a tumor affects the spine, symptoms like loss of bladder/bowel control or paralysis may occur. Tumors can also affect nerve pathways, causing feelings of numbness and tingling. Fractures can also occur as a result of the weakening of the bone.

In addition, symptoms may first become evident after a minor trauma to the area that instead of healing becomes increasingly more painful.

Localized pain, swelling, or redness may last weeks or even months before an accurate diagnosis is made.

The pain may be aggravated by exercise and is often worse at night. A distinct soft tissue mass can sometimes be felt and is usually firmly attached to the bone and tender.

When to See a Doctor

Because the symptoms are very similar to those of other less severe illnesses, it is not uncommon for there to be a delay in diagnosing Ewing's sarcoma. While the initial pain and swelling are often thought to be related to an injury, the persistence of symptoms raise red flags for physicians.

A Word From Verywell

In children and adolescents, fractures and other injuries tend to heal faster than in adults. Recovery time is usually measured in weeks for kids, compared to months in adults. If your child has lingering pain from an injury, talk to their doctor about your concerns.

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Article Sources

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  1. American Cancer Society. Signs and Symptoms of Ewing Tumors.

  2. Delaney TF, Hornicek FJ, Mankin HJ. Clinical presentation, staging, and prognosis of the Ewing's sarcoma family of tumors. UpToDate. 

  3. PDQ Pediatric Treatment Editorial Board. Ewing sarcoma treatment (PDQ): Health Professional Version. 2019. In: PDQ Cancer Information Summaries [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Cancer Institute (US); 2002