Kaposi sarcoma
Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi Sarcoma: Definition, 4 Types, and Symptoms

Kaposi Sarcoma Definition

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a cancer originates from endothelial cells, which are cells that line the lymph vessels or blood vessels. Kaposi sarcoma appears as a lesion on the skin on the legs, body, or face and can also be found on the surface of the mucous membranes (mucosa) as in the mouth, but these tumors can also be found in other parts of the body, such as the lymph nodes and gen**ital area. In severe Kaposi sarcoma, lesions can occur in the gastrointestinal tract and lungs.

Kaposi Sarcoma Types

There are 4 types of Kaposi Sarcoma based on the population of people affected, but the development and changes of these cancer cells are very similar. The four types include:

Epidemic Kaposi’s Sarcoma (AIDS-related)

A person infected with the HIV virus that attacks T-Helper Lymphocyte cells, is the immune system, so that his immunity decreases resulting in various diseases (AIDS) occur. People with HIV-AIDS have the highest risk of Kaposi sarcoma. The inability of the immune system to protect the body from infection allows the Kaposi Sarcoma-related herpes virus to replicate. Through an unknown mechanism, characteristic lesions are formed.

Classic Kaposi Sarcoma (Mediterranean)

In Classical Kaposi Sarcoma Type, this occurs mainly in old age of Eastern European, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern descent and is more common in men than women. There are usually one or more lesions of Kaposi Sarcoma and its location can be found on the feet, wrists, or soles of the feet. In this type, these cancer cells develop slowly, 10-15 years. New lesions rarely form, when there is a very slow development.

Endemic Kaposi Sarcoma (African)

Endemic Kaposi Sarcoma occurs in people living in Africa, so it is called African Kaposi sarcoma. This type of Kaposi sarcoma can affect a group of people, including children and affects a younger age group, usually under 40 years. Kaposi sarcoma associated with herpes virus infection is much more common in Africa than the rest of the world, so the risk of Kaposi sarcoma is much higher in Africans or living in Africa.

Other factors that increase the risk of Africans more often developing endemic Kaposi Sarcoma are diseases or other conditions that can weaken the immune system such as malaria, other chronic infections, and malnutrition. This type of Kaposi sarcoma usually develops in the lymph nodes and can develop quickly or aggressively.

Latrogenic Kaposi Sarcoma (Transplant Related)

This type of Kaposi sarcoma develops in people whose immune system is suppressed after organ transplantation. Most organ transplant patients are given immunosuppressant or immune suppressing drugs so that their immune system does not reject or attack new transplanted organs. A weakened immune system can increase a person’s risk of being infected with the Kaposi Sarcoma-related herpes virus and will develop into a cancerous lesion. Stopping immunosuppressant drugs or lowering doses can make Kaposi Sarcoma lesions disappear or get smaller.

Kaposi Sarcoma Symptoms

Symptoms of Kaposi sarcoma are very diverse, but commonly appeared are:

Lesions appear on the face and legs

Lesions are abnormal tissues of the skin. Initially, the disease causes lesions in the form of purple, red, or brown spots. If you notice lesions can be spotted, i.e. Flat on the skin or do not cause lumps.

It can also slightly protrude upwards and this is called plaque. Sometimes it is also a clearly visible lump and this is called a nodule. Most often these lesions appear on the foot or face area. However, it can also appear in other areas such as the groin.

Swelling of the lesions

The appearance of lesions can cause fluid flow in certain areas to become obstructed. As a result, swelling will occur accompanied by severe pain. Generally, these symptoms of Kaposi sarcoma occur in lesions on the legs and groin.

Lesions in the mucous membranes or other areas of the body

Lesions that appear not only on the legs or face. These lesions can also appear in the mucous membrane area (mucosa), such as inside the mouth, throat, outer area of the eye and the inside of the eyelids. However, these lesions usually do not cause pain or itching.

Lesions can also appear in the lungs and can clog part of the respiratory tract causing symptoms of shortness of breath. Lesions that form in the lining of the stomach or intestines, can cause symptoms of abdominal pain and diarrhea.


Last Updated on June 6, 2021 Reviewed by Market Health Beauty Team

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