Ewing's sarcomas, or Ewing's tumors, are a category of cancers that form in the bones or soft tissues. Ewing's sarcomas usually form in the pelvis, chest or legs, particularly the long bones. Rarely, tumors grow in the skull or flat bones of the trunk.
According to the American Cancer Society, about 225 children and teens are diagnosed annually with the disease in North America. They account for about 1 percent of pediatric cancers.
Researchers have found that Ewing's sarcomas are caused by genetic changes that happen after birth. However, it is not known why some people develop the disease. It is not passed down in families.
About two-thirds of Ewing's sarcoma patients become long-term survivors of the disease.
Ewing's sarcoma types
Ewing's sarcomas are categorized into three types. While each type is slightly different, they all are caused by the same gene abnormalities and are treated in the same way.
Ewing's sarcoma of the bone: This is the most common type of Ewing's sarcoma.
Extraosseous Ewing tumor (EOE): These tumors form in soft tissues around bones.
Peripheral primitive neuroectodermal tumor (PPNET): An extremely rare type of cancer, these tumors share certain characteristics with Ewing's sarcoma of the bone and EOE.
If your child has been diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, we're here to help. Call 866-348-3095 to make an appointment or request an appointment online.
Ewing's sarcoma risk factors
Although the exact cause of Ewing's sarcoma is not known, certain things seem to put people at higher risk of developing the disease.
Gender: More males that females develop Ewing's sarcoma.
Race: Children who are white (non-Hispanic or Hispanic) are at higher risk. Ewing's sarcoma is very rare in other races.
Age: Ewing's sarcoma usually develops in teenagers.
In rare cases, Ewing's sarcoma can be passed down from one generation to the next. Genetic counseling may be right for you.
The symptoms of Ewing's sarcoma vary from person to person. Usually, the first symptom is pain where the tumor is located. The pain, which often gets worse at night or during exercise, may be from the tumor growing or a fracture in a bone that has been weakened by the tumor.
Other signs of Ewing's sarcoma include:
Lump, swelling or tenderness at the tumor site
Broken bone after a minor accident or normal activity
Walking with a limp
Weakness, numbness or paralysis of arms and legs if tumor has spread near the spine
Shortness of breath, if Ewing's sarcoma has spread to the lungs
These symptoms do not always mean your child has Ewing's sarcoma. Many of the signs are similar to normal minor problems many children have. However, it's a good idea to speak to your doctor, since these problems may signal other health issues.