Kaposi’s sarcoma is a cancer of connective tissue. It is a form of cancer that occurs in tiny blood vessels that grow below the surface of the skin, mouth, nose, eyes, and anus. Kaposi’s sarcoma can spread to the lungs, liver, stomach, intestines, and lymph nodes. These tumors appear as purple patches or nodules on the skin. Individuals with weak immune systems are at increased risk for Kaposi’s sarcoma. This type of sarcoma is more prevalent among men.
Types of Kaposi’s Sarcoma
- Epidemic (AIDS-associated) Kaposi’s sarcoma: This condition is more common in patients infected with HIV that causes AIDS.
- Classic (Mediterranean) Kaposi’s sarcoma: Classic Kaposi’s sarcoma mainly occurs in older people of Eastern European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern heritage. The condition is characterized by one or more lesions on the legs, ankles, or soles of the feet.
- Endemic (African) Kaposi’s sarcoma: The tumor occurs mainly in people of Equatorial Africa. The condition is associated with herpes virus infection.
- Iatrogenic (transplant-related) Kaposi’s sarcoma: Iatrogenic Kaposi’s sarcoma develops in patients with a suppressed immune system after organ transplant surgery.
Symptoms of Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Symptoms experienced by patients with Kaposi’s sarcoma are:
- Purple, pink, brown, black, blue, or red blotches or bumps on the skin, throat, or mouth.
- Swelling that causes blockage in the lymphatic system (lymphedema)
- Indescribable chest pain or cough
- Blockage in the digestive tract can cause Kaposi lesions in the gastrointestinal tract.
If the patients experience the above symptoms and are at an increased risk of developing Kaposi’s sarcoma, they should consult a physician. At HCG Manavata Cancer Center, we have some of the best Kaposi’s sarcoma doctors in Nashik, Maharashtra, who have vast experience in managing Kaposi’s sarcoma with excellent clinical outcomes.
Causes of Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Kaposi’s sarcoma is caused due to the infection of human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8). The virus is also known as Kaposi’s’ sarcoma-associated herpesvirus. This virus may spread through blood or saliva, unprotected sexual intercourse, or from the mother to the baby during pregnancy.
Diagnosis of Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Kaposi’s sarcoma is diagnosed through the following techniques:
- Physical Examination: The doctor will physically examine the patient for signs of Kaposi’s sarcoma and recommend additional tests for a conclusive diagnosis.
- Biopsy: During this procedure, the doctor will remove a small piece of cancer tissue for examination in the laboratory. The sample is tested for the presence of cancer cells.
- Fecal output blood test: The test aims to detect hidden blood in stool that can be a sign of developing Kaposi’s sarcoma in the digestive tract.
- Chest X-ray: Chest X-ray reveals abnormalities that suggest the development of Kaposi’s sarcoma in the lungs.
- Bronchoscopy: Bronchoscopy is a test that includes a thin tube that passes through the nose or mouth into the lungs. It enables the doctors to view the lining and obtain a sample of abnormal areas in the chest region.
- Upper endoscopy: During this procedure, a thin tube is passed through the mouth to the esophagus, stomach, and small intestine to look for signs of Kaposi’s sarcoma in these regions.
- Colonoscopy: A colonoscope (a thin tube with a camera and light source) is passed through the rectum to look for signs of Kaposi’s sarcoma in the regions of the colon and rectum.
Treatment for Kaposi’s Sarcoma
Through advanced treatment facilities and innovative approaches, HCG Manavata Cancer Center thrives to provide the best Kaposi’s sarcoma treatment in Nashik. Key treatment options available for Kaposi’s sarcoma include:
Antiretroviral treatment (ART): Antiretroviral drugs are used for HIV/AIDS before treating the tumor and reducing symptoms. ART can be given in combination with other treatments depending on the spread of the disease and the symptoms.
Surgery: Kaposi’s sarcoma includes two types of surgeries. First is curettage and electrodesiccation, wherein a sharp, spoon-shaped instrument is used to remove cancer. Later, electric current is used to stop bleeding and destroy any remaining cancer cells. The other is cryosurgery, which involves the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and destroy cancer cells. The procedure can leave scars.
Photodynamic therapy: During this procedure, a light-sensitive substance is injected into the lesions. It stays longer in the cancer cells than in the healthy cells. After injecting, a laser is directed at the lesion to destroy cancer.
Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy is another treatment option for Kaposi’s sarcoma. During this procedure, high-intensity radiation beams are used to destroy cancer cells. Kaposi’s sarcoma responds well to radiation treatments, but sometimes it allows for the development of new lesions surrounding the skin exposed to radiation.
Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is also used for the treatment of Kaposi’s sarcoma. Chemo drugs are often injected into the lesions directly (intralesional injection).
Targeted therapy: The targeted therapy for Kaposi’s sarcoma comprises kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibody therapy. These therapies usually result in less harm to normal cells than radiation or chemotherapy.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the prognosis of Kaposi’s sarcoma?
This entirely depends on the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma, the stage, and the organ affected. Early detection and timely treatment always support a better prognosis. For more information on disease prognosis, it is always better to talk to your doctor.
2. How to prevent Kaposi’s sarcoma?
The human herpes virus (HHV-8) causes Kaposi’s sarcoma, which has no vaccine. A good way to reduce your Kaposi’s sarcoma risk is to be wary of the risk factors that are associated with it. It includes avoiding unprotected sex or injecting drugs with used needles.
3. What are the complications of Kaposi’s sarcoma?
If the sarcoma develops in the lungs, it causes possible complications, such as cough and shortness of breath. Other complications of this condition include swelling, fever, swollen lymph nodes, blood in the sputum, painful lesions, etc.
4. Should I be concerned about the recurrence of sarcoma?
Kaposi’s sarcoma can recur in different areas or at the same location. It is necessary to get treatment as quickly as possible. For early detection of recurrences, it is important for patients to diligently keep up their follow-up appointments.