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Kaposi's Sarcoma

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Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s Sarcoma Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is a malignant tumor of the blood and lymphatic vessels. KS is caused by the human herpes virus-8(HHV8). The disease occurs frequently in immunodeficient HIV-AIDS patients and organ donor recipients taking immune suppressant medications. KS is often a sign that HIV has progressed into AIDS. Before the HIV-AIDS epidemic, the classical case of KS was typically found in older males of Eastern European and Italian descent. The disease developed slowly in a period of about 10-15 years versus the rapid growth in immune deficient patients. KS is associated with red, purple or black lesions on the skin. Patients often complain of swelling, pain and itching from infected areas. KS can spread quickly to the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, spleen, bones and other internal organs. Tumors that develop in the respiratory tract have a high rate of mortality in patients. Coughing up blood, shortness of breath and finally respiratory failure can occur. GI tumors tend to be asymptomatic but diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, headache, fever and bleeding are common symptoms of the disease process. Urinary incontinence and retention have been reported. Before KS is formally diagnosed, a biopsy is performed on infected tissues. Samples are taken from lesions and examined closely under a microscope. Endoscopy is used to collect samples from the throat, stomach, lungs and intestines. Chest x-ray, CT scan, and MRI help to locate tumors that have spread into internal bones and organs. There is currently no known cure for Kaposi’s sarcoma. Several therapeutic strategies have proven effective to treat the underlying causes of the disease and relieve symptoms. Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) and Interferon are medications that decrease the HIV viral load and boost…...

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