In Kaposi sarcoma, cancer cells are discovered in the skin or mucous membranes that border the GI tract. This includes the stomach and intestines and extends from the mouth to the anus. These tumors may spread to the lymph nodes & lungs and manifest as purple patches or nodules on the skin or mucous membranes. Patients with immune systems that are weak and men are more likely to develop Kaposi sarcoma.
Symptoms of Kaposi Sarcoma
There are patches of abnormal tissue due to Kaposi sarcoma. These patches can occur anywhere on your body. In the tissue under your skin’s surface or in the mucosa that lines the interior of your mouth, nose, or anus, lesions can form. The lining of internal organs including your liver, lungs, and abdomen can potentially develop Kaposi sarcoma. Particular signs include:
- Spots or patches that are purple, brown, or red. The patches might be plain or wavy. They could show up all over your body or in one particular place.
- When a lesion clogs one of your lymph nodes, lymphedema may result.
- Breathing difficulties or bloody coughs arise due to lung lesions.
- Gastric bleeding, which results in blood in the stool, and abdominal discomfort from lesions.
- Diarrhea arises due to digestive system lesions.
- Due to lesions obstructing your digestive tract, you may have vomiting or constipation.
- Oral lesions that cause discomfort when you eat.
A doctor will examine your skin, mouth, and rectum physically if you show indications of Kaposi sarcoma. The physician will examine your lymph nodes as well.
Small chunks of tissue will be taken from the lesion(s) during this treatment. Then a pathologist examines the samples in a lab to determine whether Kaposi sarcoma is present.
Most patients will get a chest X-ray because Kaposi sarcoma frequently spreads to the lungs. Even if there does not seem to be any lung involvement, there is still the requirement for this noninvasive test.
Your doctor could prescribe a bronchoscopy to examine your trachea and airways in more detail. This is because if the chest X-ray reveals an abnormality, or if you’re coughing up blood or experiencing breathing difficulties.
If you experience blood in the stool, stomach discomfort, or anemia, an upper endoscopy and/or colonoscopy may be necessary.
Treatment for Kaposi Sarcoma
There is no cure for the Kaposi virus, which causes Kaposi Sarcoma. Its treatment focuses on symptom management and cancer treatment. The optimal course of action will depend on the nature and severity of your particular diagnosis.
Even if it may physically seem that way, experts warn against thinking of the condition as being localized. It should be handled as if it had spread beyond any outward symptoms. Patients with this issue may benefit from the following therapy options:
Enhancing Immune System Performance
Treatment for the immune weakness that could be allowing the tumor to develop is the most effective and crucial therapy for people with Kaposi sarcoma. Immunosuppressant dose adjustments or reductions may be advisable for transplant patients.
Patients with Kaposi sarcoma should focus their treatment efforts on boosting their immune systems. People who already have immune system issues are unable to tolerate further therapies, such as chemotherapy, for an extended length of time.
When there are only a few minor lesions, some doctors could advise topical therapies. This includes chemotherapy injections directly into the lesions, cryosurgery, excisions, phototherapy, or local radiation.
After correcting immunological weaknesses, patients with Kaposi sarcoma who do not see improvement may need chemotherapy as a follow-up treatment. Even while certain oral medicines are increasingly being utilized, chemotherapy is mostly delivered intravenously.
Surgery is often not advisable due to the possibility of lesions returning and the fact that it is inefficient at treating the condition.
The Bottom Line
The disease Kaposi sarcoma is treatable. It often progresses extremely slowly. However, if left untreated, it can occasionally be deadly. Always talk to your doctor about your treatment choices. Consult your doctor straight away to start treatment. Your healthcare professional will outline what to expect if you have Kaposi sarcoma, including the diagnosis, course of therapy, and quality of life issues.