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Cancer Health Library : Oncology


Cancer Types - Kaposi's Sarcoma

What is Kaposi's sarcoma?

Kaposi's sarcoma is a cancer that starts in the tissues under the skin. Kaposi's sarcoma comes in several forms. Some are slow growing, and others are more aggressive and faster spreading. The slow growing forms usually start as a purple or dark-brown, flat or raised, area on the lower leg. The more aggressive forms of Kaposi's sarcoma start as a pink, red, or purple, round or oval, spot anywhere on the body, including internally. The tumors are usually not painful, but can sometimes cause swelling of the lower legs.

Who is at risk for Kaposi's sarcoma?

  • classic Kaposi’s sarcoma - a slower-growing form of the disease, is more common in older people, especially those of European, Jewish, or Italian descent.
  • African Kaposi’s sarcoma - can be slow-growing or more aggressive, and often affects children and young men in African nations near the equator.
  • treatment-related Kaposi’s sarcoma - occurs in people receiving immune-suppressing drugs, such as after organ transplants.
  • epidemic Kaposi’s sarcoma - an aggressive form of the disease, occurs more often in people with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

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