What is Kaposi's sarcoma?

Kaposi's sarcoma is a type of cancer that is widely variable, affecting just the skin or the lungs, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs. It can affect many different groups of people, including those with AIDS, those who have an immune system that doesn't work like it should (for example, in people taking immune-suppressing medications after organ transplants), people from Africa (HIV-negative, endemic African Kaposi's sarcoma) and elderly men of Mediterranean and Eastern European descent.

Kaposi sarcoma is a cancer that causes flat, dark patches to appear on the skin. These patches, called lesions, may cause no symptoms or may be painful and swollen. The various types of Kaposi sarcoma affect a variety of types of people, but in all cases it's caused by the herpesvirus type 8 that affects the cells in the lining of lymph and blood vessels.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.