Overview

Ewing (YOO-ing) sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones. This cancer most often begins in the long bones of the pelvis, legs or arms, but it can occur in any bone. Less often, Ewing sarcoma starts in the soft tissues of the arms, legs, abdomen or other locations.

Major advancements in the treatment of Ewing sarcoma have significantly improved outcomes. After completion of treatment, people need lifelong monitoring for potential late effects of intense chemotherapy and radiation.

Ewing sarcoma is more common in teenagers and young adults, but it can occur at any age.

Symptoms

Signs and symptoms of Ewing sarcoma include:

  • Pain, swelling or tenderness near the affected area
  • Bone pain, which may worsen at night or with physical activity
  • Unexplained tiredness
  • Fever with no known cause
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Broken bone with no known cause

Causes

The cause of Ewing sarcoma is unknown. Though Ewing sarcoma arises from specific types of cells, it doesn't appear to be inherited.

Risk factors

No clear risk factors for Ewing sarcoma are known. But it's significantly more likely to occur in white or Hispanic children and less likely to occur in African-American or Asian-American children.

Complications

Ewing sarcoma can spread from where it started to other areas, making treatment and recovery more difficult. For example, the cancer can spread to other tissues, bone marrow, other bones or to the lungs. Ewing sarcoma can also return after treatment.

As with other types of serious cancer, aggressive chemotherapy and radiation for Ewing sarcoma can cause substantial side effects, both in the short and long term. The health care team takes steps to treat and manage these effects as best as possible. And it's important for you to learn what to watch for and contact your team with any concerns.

Prevention

Ewing sarcoma can't be prevented. This type of cancer is not inherited and there is no known link to any lifestyle or environmental issues.

Any signs or symptoms should be checked out as soon as possible.