6 Symptoms of Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing’s or Ewing sarcoma (ES) is a rare cancer of the bone and soft tissue that’s usually found in children and young people between 5 and 20. Most cases of Ewing’s sarcoma occur between the ages of 10 and 20 but about 25% of cases occur in kids under 10 and a small percentage occur in people in their 20s and 30s. There are few known risk factors for ES but one is race. Caucasians are 9 times more likely to develop ES than African-Americans. The disease is also more common among males than females.

Ewing’s sarcoma was once considered bone cancer because it develops in bones but the tumor develops from a primitive nerve cell and may also occur in the soft tissues. In most cases, ES develops in the arms, legs, or pelvis but it can also occur in the spine, ribs, or other bones and soft tissues.

Historically, ES has been very difficult to treat but a number of new treatments like radiation and surgery have improved survival with ES. As with other forms of cancer, the symptoms of Ewing sarcoma can resemble common illnesses and may include swelling, decreased appetite, fatigue, and fever. There are a number of distinctive symptoms that may point to ES, however, including bone pain, and fractures with no cause.

1. Pain Or Swelling In Affected Area

One of the predominant symptoms that most people notice in the earlier stages of the disease is swelling, pain, and stiffness in the affected area. This is called local pain. The pain and swelling around the tumor can contribute to reduced function of the affected extremity.

In active children, this pain and swelling are often mistaken for a sports injury as the symptoms can be similar. When the swelling comes with a fever, ES can also be mistaken for a bone infection. Because swelling, pain, and stiffness are the most common symptoms early in the disease, it’s common for there to be a delay in diagnosis of ES. Many patients even have symptoms for a year or longer until ES is discovered. For most people, the initial symptom is non-specific pain that slowly becomes more persistent and severe. About one-quarter of people with ES will have an X-ray that either does not capture the right part of the bone with the tumor or does not detect the abnormality while it’s in the early stages.