Ewing Sarcoma | Symptoms & Causes

What are the symptoms of Ewing sarcoma?

Ewing sarcoma symptoms can be non-specific and might mimic other more common ailments. While symptoms vary from child to child, the most common include:

  • sporadic bone pain of varying intensity
  • localized pain around the site of the tumor
  • limp or limited range of motion in the affected area
  • swelling and/or redness around the site of the tumor
  • fever of unknown cause
  • decreased appetite
  • weight loss
  • fatigue
  • symptoms related to nerve compression caused by the tumor (such as numbness, tingling, or weakness)
  • loss of bowel and bladder function (if the tumor is in the spinal region)

Because many of these symptoms can also point to other conditions, it’s important to have your child evaluated by a qualified medical professional right away.

What causes Ewing sarcoma?

Ewing sarcoma occurs because a certain type of stem cell starts to grow abnormally, and these cells then form a tumor. We understand now that a specific chromosomal change (called a “translocation”) in a cell's DNA — the building blocks that make up all living organisms — is one of the first events that turns a normal cell into a Ewing sarcoma cell. This translocation is not inherited but instead develops in cells after the child is born.

It is not known why some people are more likely to have cells that develop this translocation and therefore go on to develop Ewing sarcoma. It is important to understand that there’s nothing you could have done or avoided doing that would have prevented your child’s cancer from developing.