DefinitionKaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a form of cancer . It can cause lesions on the skin, mucus membranes, or internal organs such as the gastrointestinal tract and lungs. KS can be classified according to the group of people that it affects:
- Classic—usually affects men of Mediterranean descent
- Endemic—usually affects people living in equatorial Africa
- Transplant-related (acquired)—affects people who have received an organ transplant and have a suppressed immune system
- AIDS-related (epidemic)—affects people who have HIV infection
CausesCancer occurs when cells in the body divide without control or order. If cells keep dividing, a mass of tissue forms. This mass is called a growth or tumor. Malignant tumors can invade and destroy nearby tissue. Some types of cancer will eventually spread to other parts of the body.KS is caused by an infection with a specific virus. The virus is called human herpes virus 8 or Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV). Most people infected with the virus will not get KS. KS most often develops in people who have the virus and also have a weakened immune system.
Risk FactorsFactors that may increase your chance of getting KS include:
- Having an HIV infection
- Use of medication that suppresses the immune system
SymptomsKS lesions may develop anywhere on the body. They tend to be raised blotches or nodules which may be purple, brown, red, or pink.
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DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be will be done If you have skin lesions, the doctor may base the diagnosis on this. If you have bleeding, pain, or weight loss, you may need more tests to find out if you have KS.Tests may include:
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