Ewing's Sarcoma

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Ewing's sarcoma is a cancerous bone tumor that may occur in any bone in the body. When it occurs in soft tissue, it is called extraosseous sarcoma. The most commonly affected areas include the pelvis, thigh, lower leg, upper arm, and chest wall.


The causes of Ewing's sarcoma are not fully understood. Chromosomal rearrangement that alters the genes may be a factor.


Because the causes of the cancer are unknown, risk factors are also not fully understood. The following factors may increase your chance of developing Ewing's sarcoma:

  • Race: Caucasians
  • Age — Teenagers
  • Gender — Male


Symptoms include:

  • Pain, redness, and swelling surrounding the tumor
  • Fever
  • Weight loss and reduced appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Paralysis and incontinence in cases where the tumor is near the spinal cord
  • Numbness, tingling, and paralysis caused by compression of nerves by the tumor
  • Difficulty breathing if the tumor is in the chest wall

Bone Cancer in Young Adults

Ewing’s sarcoma is a type of bone cancer that occurs in young adults. It most commonly affects the pelvis, thigh, leg, arm and chest wall. Gregory Domson, MD, explains the treatment options for this cancer and patient care at UVA. View Ewing's sarcoma transcript.


Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You will be treated by a team of doctors which may include an oncologist who specializes in cancer, an orthopaedic surgeon who operates on bones, and a radiation oncologist who works with radiation to kill cancer cells.

Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with:

  • X-rays
  • Bone scans
  • CT scan
  • MRI scan
  • PET/CT scan — to evaluate the metabolic activity of tissue
bone biopsy
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Your bodily fluids and tissues may need to be tested. This can be done with:

  • Blood tests
  • Biopsy


Treatment involves a combination of chemotherapy, surgery, and radiation. Typically, patients are first treated with chemotherapy for 8-12 weeks, followed by a CT or MRI scan to evaluate the tumor. Depending on the tumor size and location, either surgery or radiation follows. Chemotherapy then resumes for several months after surgery or radiation.

  • Chemotherapy
  • Surgery
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Future Therapy


Ewing's sarcoma occurs for unknown reasons. There are currently no preventive measures to reduce the risk of developing the cancer.

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.