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Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment

General Information About Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissue lining the lymph vessels under the skin or in mucous membranes.

Kaposi sarcoma is a cancer that causes lesions (abnormal tissue) to grow under the skin, in the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat, or in other organs. The lesions are usually purple and are made of cancer cells, new blood vessels, and white blood cells. Kaposi sarcoma is different from other cancers in that lesions may begin in more than one place in the body at the same time.

Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8) is found in the lesions of all patients with Kaposi sarcoma. This virus is also called Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV). Most people infected with HHV-8 do not get Kaposi sarcoma. Those infected with HHV-8 who are most likely to develop Kaposi sarcoma have immune systems weakened by disease or by drugs given after an organ transplant.

There are several types of Kaposi sarcoma, including:

Tests that examine the skin, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract are used to detect (find) and diagnose Kaposi sarcoma.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

There are three ways that cancer spreads in the body.

The three ways that cancer spreads in the body are:

When cancer cells break away from the primary (original) tumor and travel through the lymph or blood to other places in the body, another (secondary) tumor may form. This process is called metastasis. The secondary (metastatic) tumor is the same type of cancer as the primary tumor. For example, if breast cancer spreads to the bones, the cancer cells in the bones are actually breast cancer cells. The disease is metastatic breast cancer, not bone cancer.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following: