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Kaposi Sarcoma

Also called: KS

Summary

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that causes patches of abnormal tissue to grow under the skin, in the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat, in lymph nodes, or in other organs. These patches, or lesions, are usually red or purple. They are made of cancer cells, blood vessels, and blood cells.

KS is caused by infection with human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8). Most people infected with HHV-8 don't get KS. It usually happens in

  • People with weak immune systems, due to HIV/AIDS, drugs taken after an organ transplant, or another disease
  • Older men of Jewish or Mediterranean descent
  • Young men in Africa

The skin lesions may not cause symptoms. But they can spread to other parts of the body, especially in people with HIV/AIDS. If they spread to the digestive tract or lungs, they can cause bleeding. Lesions on the lungs can also make it hard to breathe.

Treatment depends on where the lesions are and how bad they are. Options include radiation therapy, surgery, chemotherapy, and biologic therapy. People with HIV/AIDS also take HIV/AIDS Medicines.

NIH: National Cancer Institute

Start Here

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in
  • (American Osteopathic College of Dermatology)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Diagnosis and Tests

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Prevention and Risk Factors

  • (American Cancer Society)

Treatments and Therapies

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Related Issues

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Specifics

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Images

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Statistics and Research

  • (American Cancer Society)
  • (American Cancer Society)

Clinical Trials

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Institutes of Health)

Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)

Reference Desk

  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

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  • (American Society of Clinical Oncology)
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  • From the National Institutes of Health (National Cancer Institute) Also in

Patient Handouts

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