Kaposi s Sarcoma

Most people today believe that Kaposis sarcoma is synonymous with the disease AIDS. But this is only half right, not only that, but the other half is the most important part.

In 1872, Dr. Moritz Kaposi first wrote about this cancer; obviously, it was named after its discoverer. The initial theory was that it was a disease of older European men of Jewish or Italian background, or of young African men. Eventually, patients who had had organ transplants were added to that list.

Rarely did women suffer this disease originally. The ratio quoted was fifteen older men to every one woman. Around the time that HIV was becoming known the ratio changed and it was four men diagnosed for every one woman. Researchers are unsure of the reason for this change.

Incidences are Dropping

Once AIDS became a known condition, it became the cause of most of the cases of Kaposis sarcoma. Along with superior treatments for HIV and AIDS the incidences of this sarcoma in the last five years have dropped by over eighty percent. This is a major accomplishment.

Kaposis sarcoma itself is not life threatening. The lesions, or sores, that develop due to it are often painful, sometimes disfiguring, and can cause swelling depending on where they occur. They usually develop in the mouth, nose, anus or genital areas. They may also be located in the skin surrounding the eyes or on the legs.

Signs of Karposis

The lesions themselves appear as large blemishes. They can be red, purple or brownish in color. However, their size or color is not the major issue nor is the pain they may cause. The most frightening aspect of Kaposis sarcoma is that it can spread to internal organs, particularly the lungs, gastrointestinal tract and liver. This is when it becomes a serious life threatening disease. If it spreads to the lungs it can cause difficulty breathing. If it gets into the gastrointestinal tract it can cause serious bleeding.

The Three Groups

Kaposis sarcoma is divided into three sub-groups; African KS, Transplant-Related KS and AIDS-Related KS. Each one has a slightly different group of issues to deal with.

The African type was discovered in Equatorial Africa. It starts earlier than the others, but usually doesnt spread into the bodys organs. But it has another form that strikes young children, before they hit puberty; developing in girls one third as frequently as the boys. This one is a killer usually within three years.

Transplant-Related is one hundred and fifty times more likely to develop in transplant patients because of the immune suppression drugs they must take. But, its more likely to only affect the skin.

Lastly, is the AIDS-Related type and. this one can be the worst. But recently new improved treatments have been developed to greatly reduce the incidences of this disease in AIDS sufferers.

See Also:

Malignant Melanoma