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Kaposi's Sarcoma

more about Kaposi's Sarcoma

  • This is a form of cancer that, until recently, was only seen in elderly men of Mediterranean descent.  In those individuals, it is a slow growing, non-aggressive disease.  After the AIDS epidemic, it became a very common cancer in homosexuals with AIDS.  It is also much more aggressive in patients with AIDS, and is theorized that there is a sexually transmitted co-factor (possibly a type of Herpes Virus) that increases the likelihood of developing Kaposi's Sarcoma in those with AIDS.

  • Purple or dark nodules on the skin or mucous membranes (e.g., lips)
  • Shortness of breath if the lungs are involved
  • Coughing of blood (Hemoptysis)
  • Vomiting blood (hematemesis) or the passing of bloody stool (hematochezia) from the rectum if the gastrointestinal tract is involved
  • Yellow skin or eyes if the biliary tract/gall bladder becomes involved

  • Biopsy of skin lesion
  • Bronchoscopy if lung lesions are suspected.
  • Chest X-Ray may show bilateral infiltrates and pleural effusions
  • Endoscopy or Colonoscopy may be performed to diagnose gastrointestinal involvement

  • If less aggressive, no treatment may be needed (even in some persons with AIDS, this disease may be less aggressive)
  • Chemotherapy agents that may be considered:
    1. Etoposide
    2. Vinblastine
    3. Doxorubicin
    4. Bleomycin
    5. IFN-alpha
  • Local treatment of lesions may be considered -- e.g., freezing (Cryotherapy), interlesion injections, or lasers
  • Radiation treatment may be used if there is lung involvement
  • Immunotherapy may be tried

  • As stated above, there seems to be an independent risk from sexual relations of acquiring this disease.  Condoms may help to prevent this disease.

more about Kaposi's Sarcoma

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