Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a type of skin cancer. KS may appear on any part of your skin. It can also be found in your lymph nodes, stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, lungs, and bones. KS may start in one area and spread to other areas of your body.

What increases my risk for KS?

You may be at risk if you have HIV, AIDS, or a human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8) infection. Medicines used during cancer treatment and organ transplants or steroids may also increase your risk for KS.

What are the signs and symptoms of KS?

The most common sign is red, purple, blue, or dark spots or sores on your skin. They may be located anywhere on your body, including in your mouth. You may have other symptoms depending on where KS is in your body.

How is KS diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will examine your skin. He or she will take a sample of skin from one of your sores and send it to a lab for tests. A chest x-ray, CT scan, or MRI may show if KS is in other areas or organs of your body. You may be given contrast liquid to help KS show up better in the pictures. Tell the healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid. Do not enter the MRI room with anything metal. Metal can cause serious injury. Tell the healthcare provider if you have any metal in or on your body.

  • Cover a sneeze or cough. Use a tissue that covers your mouth and nose. Throw the tissue away in a trash can right away. Use the bend of your arm if a tissue is not available. Wash your hands well with soap and water or use a hand sanitizer.
  • Stay away from others while you are sick.Avoid crowds as much as possible.
  • Ask about vaccines you may need. Talk to your healthcare provider about your vaccine history. He or she will tell you which vaccines you need, and when to get them.
  • Get the influenza (flu) vaccine as soon as recommended each year. The flu vaccine is available starting in September or October. Flu viruses change, so it is important to get a flu vaccine every year.
  • Get the pneumonia vaccine if recommended. This vaccine is usually recommended every 5 years. Your provider will tell you when to get this vaccine, if needed.

Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have trouble breathing or cough up blood.

When should I call my doctor?

  • You have a fever.
  • You get more sores on your skin, or they are more painful or itch.
  • You have increased fatigue or weakness.
  • Your hands and feet are itchy, swollen, or painful.
  • You have numbness or tingling in your hand or foot.
  • You have trouble eating or swallowing.
  • You have nausea or vomiting that will not stop.
  • You have diarrhea or constipation, or blood in your bowel movement.
  • Your leg is swollen and painful and makes it difficult to walk.
  • You have bone pain or increased headaches.
  • You cannot control when you urinate.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care