We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Kaposi's Sarcoma?

By Victoria Blackburn
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a cancer of the cells lining the lymph or blood vessels. The illness is identified by purplish or reddish-brown lesions that form on the patient’s skin and typically spread to the major organs and orifices, particularly the mouth, nose and anus. These lesions often form with no additional symptoms, and although they look painful, they normally don’t cause any discomfort. Kaposi's sarcoma is a strain of the Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV) and is named after Dr. Moritz Kaposi, who first studied it in 1872.

In recent years, Kaposi's sarcoma has been most closely connected with those suffering from AIDS and is one of the first telltale signs of the person officially having AIDS versus only being HIV positive. A healthy immune system is normally able to fight off KS, but an AIDS patient’s weakened immune system is unable to fight the KSHV viral cells. Kaposi's sarcoma further diminishes the patient’s immune system, causing them to cease functioning. Many patients have the visible lesions removed for cosmetic reasons, although they may return.

The lesions that form are actually malignant tumors. In other words, the cancer cells can and will spread to other parts of the body. Currently, there are no preventative treatments available for Kaposi's sarcoma, just as there are no self-exams or biopsies that can catch it early, as with many other forms of cancer.

There are four ways that KS is usually treated: radiation, chemotherapy, surgery and immunotherapy. Many doctors are hesitant to attempt chemotherapy because of the potentially damaging effects it can have on a patient’s already delicate immune system. Immunotherapy uses interferons, which are substances that help boost the body’s immune system, to help the body fight the virus. In those with epidemic KS, anti-viral drugs are used to fight the AIDS virus as well as being combined with other methods to fight the KSHV virus.

There are four main types of KS. Epidemic or AIDS-related Kaposi's is the disease that occurs in people who have AIDS. Classic or Mediterranean affects the elderly of Mediterranean, Eastern European and Middle Eastern descent, usually men. Endemic (African) affects residents of equatorial Africa who are not HIV positive or suffering from AIDS. Iatrogenic Kaposi's sarcoma is the third group and is also called transplant-associated KS and is found in those who have had an organ transplant and as a result have a suppressed immune system to prevent rejection.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.