Signs and Symptoms of Ewing Tumors

Ewing tumors are often found because of the symptoms they cause.

Pain

Most children and teens with Ewing tumors will have pain in the area of the tumor. Ewing tumors occur most often in the pelvis (hip bones), the chest wall (such as the ribs or shoulder blades), and the legs (mainly in the middle of the long bones), but they can also start in other parts of the body.

Bone pain can be caused by the tumor spreading under the outer covering of the bone (periosteum), or the pain can be from a break (fracture) in a bone that has been weakened by the tumor.

Lump or swelling

Over time, most Ewing bone tumors and almost all non-bone (soft tissue) Ewing tumors cause a lump or swelling, which is more likely to be noticed in tumors in the arms or legs. The lump is often soft and feels warm. Tumors in the chest wall or pelvis might not be noticed until they have grown quite large.

Other symptoms

Ewing tumors can also cause other symptoms, some of which are more common in tumors that have spread:

  • Fever
  • Feeling tired
  • Weight loss

Rarely, tumors near the spine can cause back pain, as well as weakness, numbness, or paralysis in the arms or legs. Tumors that have spread to the lungs can cause shortness of breath.

Many of the signs and symptoms of Ewing tumors are more likely to be caused by something else. Still, if your child has any of these symptoms, see a doctor so that the cause can be found and treated, if needed.

Because many of these signs and symptoms can be confused with normal bumps and bruises or bone infections, Ewing tumors might not be recognized right away. For example, the doctor might try giving antibiotics first if an infection is suspected. The correct diagnosis might not be made until the signs and symptoms don’t go away (or get worse) and the bone is then x-rayed.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master's-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Anderson ME, Randall RL, Springfield DS, Gebhart MC. Chapter 92: Sarcomas of bone. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Doroshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier; 2014.

DeLaney TF, Hornicek FJ. Clinical presentation, staging, and prognostic factors of the Ewing sarcoma family of tumors. UpToDate. Accessed at www.uptodate.com/contents/clinical-presentation-staging-and-prognostic-factors-of-the-ewing-sarcoma-family-of-tumors on February 27, 2018.

Last Medical Review: May 31, 2018 Last Revised: May 31, 2018

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