Kaposi Sarcoma is a type of skin cancer. Creating lesions, or patches on the skin, these spots are comprised of cancer cells, blood cells, and blood vessels. Classified into five different types, this skin cancer forms because of the mutation of the human herpes virus 8. The five groups are - the slowly developing Classic KS, African KS affecting people in central Africa, the unintentionally formed Immunosuppressive treatment-related KS, from medical treatment and surgery, Epidemic KS, which comes directly from the HIV-AIDS virus, and non-epidemic gay related KS affecting homosexual males. Many symptoms and signs will cross over each other, and the severity depends on how many lesions and where.
Flat skin lesions are some of the very first signs of Kaposi Sarcoma. They can develop quite quickly starting with just one, but then spread and even join with neighboring lesions to form one big cancerous skin tumor. Any part of the body can be affected, even inside the mouth, nose, and throat. The flat lesions know as nodular lesions, can range in color from brown to pink or reddish purple and they may also have a yellow or brown pigment on the skin surrounding the lesion patch.
Raised lesions in Kaposi Sarcoma are known as infiltrating lesions. These patches are quite large and have a raised surface in comparison to the flat, nodular, lesion. These lesions will appear brown and mole-like; however, they are growing downwards, underneath the skin, as opposed to on top of the skin. These too can be found inside the mouth and nose. It is important for the skin to be checked regularly especially if you have any suspicious looking moles forming, under the skin.
Known as lymphatic lesions, these are, of course, harder to see as they are internal and may require a biopsy to determine if they are present. Lymphatic lesions will make your lymph nodes swell and can often mimic sicknesses and causes of swollen lymph glands; therefore, infection needs to be ruled out before a correct diagnosis can take place.
Any cancerous tumor in the mouth or throat will make it difficult to eat food. With Kaposi Sarcoma, lesions can develop on any mucous membranes. This is the soft tissue skin that is found in the mouth and throat, inside the nose and both on the outer and inner part of the eyelid. When a lesion forms on these inner linings of the body, it takes on more of a wound form, as the area is consistently moist. It is not itchy or painful but they can develop and grow to make it near impossible to eat, and difficult to see.
As lesions can appear in any part of the body, they can show up in the airways and lungs. This will cause a shortness of breath or feeling of not getting enough air. As the lesion grow they block sections of the airways, much like the image of a clogged artery, air has trouble getting through the airways and can lead to breathing problems. Surgery can not remove These airway lesions; therefore, treatment would most likely be radiation therapy or chemotherapy. If you often feel out of breath, even after you have not exerted yourself physically, then you should have your airways checked.
If there are lesions on the lungs, this can also lead to breathing problems, and also chronic coughing. When the Kaposi Sarcoma cancer lesions are found in the lungs, they may begin to bleed; this will lead to the patient coughing up blood. Always a dangerous sign when one expels blood from the mouth after a coughing fit; it is always linked to a problem in the lungs or stomach. In the case of Kaposi Sarcoma, the lesions on the lungs are growing and create friction, which leads the blood vessels in the tumors to burst.
If the Kaposi Sarcoma is present in the body but not associated with the HIV, it is often restricted to the lower extremities. Lesions can still appear on the legs or groin, which may block the flow of fluid in the legs. This often causes an amount of swelling in the limbs to get under control. In some cases the swelling is extreme. For milder cases, techniques such as elevating the leg when sleeping can help drain the leg or wearing support bandages with lymphatic compression therapy to reduce the size and move the liquid stuck in the limb.
Vomiting and stomach pain can occur directly from Kaposi Sarcoma in your internal organs. The pain and bleeding associated with lesions on your organs or intestinal tract will make the digestion of food difficult. Therefore your body will want to repel anything it can't successfully digest. If food does go down, it will be a painful digestion process and one that includes bloating and swelling of the abdomen. The amount of abdominal troubles depends on how many lesions are found internally; stomach ulcers are also common for Kaposi Sarcoma sufferers.
Anemia happens when there are abnormally low numbers of red blood cells in the blood. Red blood cells are important as they carry oxygen to your organs through the blood. Those with anemia tend to feel weak and run down and even experience heart palpitations and shortness of breath. Cancer and the drugs used to fight them can cause red blood cells to fall below average and results in anemia, especially from the slow bleeding of sores or lesions. Anemia is a common condition and easily rectified with a healthy diet and supplements. However, for people living with cancer, it is harder to regain normal red blood cell levels because the body is fighting disease or in treatment.
Fatigue is a common symptom of illness in the body. It can come in waves for short periods of time or can become chronic fatigue where you are feeling tired and run down all the time. With a disease like Kaposi Sarcoma and other cancers, adequate rest, a healthy diet and getting enough exercise are often hard to accomplish. This, along with the drain on the body from fighting cancer results in fatigue and also unintentional weight loss from lack of nutrition. It can be hard to get fatigue under control, and it will take some time to regain strength when fighting cancer.
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