The 411 On Kaposi's Sarcoma: Understanding And Treating This Rare Form Of Skin Cancer

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Fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, eczema, and moles are all common complaints made to dermatologists. While they affect the look of your skin, these issues are not usually dangerous. However, certain issues that change the look of your skin can be life-threatening without early diagnosis and proper treatment. Kaposi's sarcoma is a rare form of skin cancer, which occurs at a rate of 6 cases per every million people in the United States per year. Certain conditions increase the risk of this cancer, such as a weakened immune system from HIV/Aids. Even if these risks do not apply to you, understanding Kaposi's sarcoma is smart. This guide will give you a better understanding of this form of skin cancer.

Signs

Every person is different, so the cancer may display different signs than how it shows in other patients. However, lesions are the most common sign of Kaposi's sarcoma.

Lesions will appear on the skin as flat colored spots. The lesions will be red or purple in color on people with white skin. If you have darker skin, the lesions will be blue, brown, or black.

Fortunately, most people do not experience any pain on the lesion. They are usually not itchy and will not ooze any fluids when touched.

As the cancer spreads, you may experience additional symptoms including the following:

  • Difficulty eating/swallowing
  • Nausea/Vomiting
  • Pain and tenderness in the stomach
  • Swelling in the arms, legs, and face
  • Coughing, difficulty breathing

The above signs could signal cancer has spread to a point that is life-threatening. Be sure to consult your doctor immediately if you are experiencing one or more of the above signs.

Treatment

Treating cancer will depend on a few factors including its severity. In some instances, surgical removal of the lesions will be sufficient in removing cancer and stopping it from spreading through the body.

Radiation therapy is also common in patients with Kaposi's sarcoma. After surgically removing the lesions, the radiation destroys cancerous cells in the skin to ensure they do not spread further through the body.

In more severe cases, chemotherapy will be necessary to treat cancer that has spread to other areas of the body. It is important to note that early diagnosis can increase your chances of a full recovery. Therefore, the proper understanding of the signs and symptoms is imperative for alerting you and your doctor.

Kaposi's sarcoma is rare, so you may not place much emphasis on it. This guide will help you understand the signs and treatment options to prevent this form of skin cancer from wreaking havoc on your health and wellness. 

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