Symptoms of Ewing sarcoma include a visible lump that develops at the tumor site. Other symptoms include a low yet consistent fever, unexplained weight loss, and anemia.

Although uncommon, Ewing sarcoma is a highly aggressive bone and soft tissue cancer. Children and young adults see the most incidences of this type of cancer.

This article looks at the signs and symptoms of Ewing sarcoma, where it occurs, and when a person should seek medical advice.

A child with a thermometer measuring fever, a symptom of Ewing sarcoma.Share on Pinterest
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Most people with Ewing sarcoma encounter pain in the area the tumor is present.

Ewing tumors can occur in any bones or soft tissue in the body but mainly occur in the:

  • pelvis, or hip bones
  • legs, mainly the middle of the bones
  • the bones of the chest wall, such as the ribs

They can also start in the arm bones, spinal bones, and the bones of the skull.

In the tumor area, a visible lump may appear under the skin’s surface. This may be more noticeable on the arms or legs and may be painful and feel warm to the touch.

In children, people can easily mistake the tumor symptoms for growing pains or minor sports injuries.

Additionally, an Ewing tumor can weaken bones, causing breaks or fractures after only a minor injury.

Other symptoms that someone with Ewing’s sarcoma may encounter include:

Tumors in the head region

Some symptoms only occur when tumors develop in certain locations in a person’s body. For example, tumors forming in the head region present symptoms such as:

Tumors in the chest region

People do not always notice Ewing tumor lumps in the chest until they have grown quite large. Tumors in the chest may present with minimal symptoms.

Ewing tumors that spread to the lungs can cause shortness of breath.

Tumors in the spinal region

Rarely, tumors in the spine can press on the nerves, potentially causing back pain and numbness, weakness, or paralysis in the arms or legs.

Many of the symptoms of Ewing sarcoma can have other, less serious causes, such as infections or typical bumps and bruises. As this disease is rare, it is more likely that these symptoms have a benign cause.

However, it is still important for a person to contact a doctor if they are worried about their or their child’s symptoms, especially if they worsen or do not disappear within a couple of weeks.

When doctors can detect it early, Ewing sarcoma has a better outlook. Doctors usually recommend chemotherapy as the first line of treatment.

A child or young adult with a painful mass, area of swelling, or an unexplained break, needs to receive urgent medical attention within 48 hours.

An adult with suspected Ewing sarcoma symptoms should seek advice within 2 weeks.

Below are answers to questions often asked about Ewing’s sarcoma.

What does Ewing sarcoma pain feel like?

Pain from Ewing sarcoma typically starts in the affected area. If a tumor has developed on a person’s shinbone, for example, they may experience concentrated pain in that area.

Initially, the pain may not be consistent and may worsen at night. For this reason, healthcare professionals sometimes mistake Ewing sarcoma for growing pains in children.

Less often, if the tumor has weakened the bone, a person may experience sudden, severe pain from a fracture. This break may only result from a minor injury.

It is important to check for a lump or swelling if a child complains of pain. Pain from a tumor may intensify with time.

What does the beginning of sarcoma look like?

Generally, a typical symptom of sarcoma is a painful lump or swelling. The pain can feel more increase as time goes on.

However, early symptoms can differ depending on the sarcoma’s location. A person may notice lumps in the arms and legs early on, but tumors in the chest are harder to detect.

Where does Ewing’s sarcoma start?

Mostly, Ewing tumors start in the bones. The most common sites are:

  • the leg bones — mainly in the middle of the long bones
  • the pelvis, or hip bones
  • bones in the chest wall, such as the shoulder blades or ribs

However, they can start in other body parts, such as the arm bones or spine. Ewing sarcomas can also start in the soft tissues near the bone.

Ewing sarcoma is a type of cancer that mostly affects children and young adults, occurring in the bone and sometimes soft tissues surrounding a person’s limbs, chest, or pelvis.

A person with the condition may notice a painful mass or swelling and in some cases, a mild yet consistent fever.

A tumor may weaken the bone, causing seemingly unexplained fractures or breaks. If a person experiences symptoms, they should seek medical attention as soon as possible.