Kaposi’s sarcoma is a malignant tumor consisting of cells which usually form blood vessels. It is most commonly found in the skin or oral mucus, nose and anus. This condition can affect inside organs as well as lymph nodes, lungs and digestive system. Even though this sarcoma is usually developing on the skin, it may happen on multiple parts of the body in the same time. The epidemic form of this sarcoma (which is the form related to AIDS) is apparent with about 15 to 20% of AIDS patients. As the disease progresses, the immunological system is weakened and the risk of sarcoma increases.
KS which is related to AIDS may be a result of combination between weakened immunity and the exposure to specific viruses, such as one of the herpes viruses, the HHV-8. Since KS is usually found in persons who got AIDS via sexual transmission, a conclusion about HHV-8 is made where it is obviously sexually transmittable.
Symptoms and signs
First signs usually show painless skin changes or growths, formed like flat surfaces or bumps which don’t itch. On pale skin they look rather pink or reddish while being brown or black on darker toned skin. These can look a lot like bruises but they don’t pale on pressure. These changes are most obvious on the face, limbs and mouth; even though any part of the skin may get affected causing no issues whatsoever other than pure aesthetics. As there are more lesions to note of they connect and form one large tumor.
Treatment options for KS highly depend on the overall health condition of the patient as well as the location and development of the tumor. It is important to make sure that any side effects of the treatment do not cause any further weakening of the immunological system. Treatment may be done by surgical removal of the skin lesions, when local anesthetics are used. On the place where the skin is cut there may be a small scar left which will fade away after a while. This procedure is very simple and can be done in a hospital.
Radiotherapy is used to destroy any cancer cells with no physical contact. This painless therapy is usually applied locally and in one straight dosage. It can pale away smaller skin lesions and reduce the size of larger bumps. It also helps to reduce the symptoms of KS. However, radiotherapy causes a number of side effects such as when the skin which is treated becomes red, sensitive and itchy. It is possible to lose hair on the treated area which will grow back after a while. If this therapy is applied on the belly it may cause nausea and vomiting, with exhaustion being another important symptom.
Chemotherapy for skin KS is usually applied intravenously or it can be injected directly into the lesion which is known as local chemotherapy. This method is used only for smaller lesions and it can be an alternative if the radiotherapy causes unpleasant dark spots.