Kaposi's sarcoma is a form of cancer, which results in growth of anomalous tissue scraps underneath the skin surface as well as in the inside layer of the mouth, throat, nose and various different organs. Generally, the color of these tissue patches is either red or purple, and they comprise carcinogenic as well as blood cells. While these red and purple tissue blotches usually do not trigger off any symptom, they are likely to be aching. However, in case this type of cancer extends to the lungs and the digestive tract, it may result in hemorrhages. Moreover, development of lung tumours makes breathing difficult for the patient.
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In effect, Kaposi's sarcoma also referred to as KS in medical terminology, is a form of cancer that generally grows from the cells lining the blood or lymph vessels and the areas affected by such abnormal cell growths as known as lesions. As mentioned above, the atypical cells of this type of cancer cause tissue patches or even tumors on the skin that may be red, purple or brown in color. While, in several instances, the lesions formed by Kaposi's sarcoma do not result in any symptom, they make the skin appear ugly.
However, in some other instances, this form of cancer results in tender distensions, particularly in the region of the groins, the legs and/ or on the skin in the region of the eyes. Nevertheless, Kaposi's sarcoma may often result in grave problems; sometimes even prove to be critical, especially if the lesions are formed in the liver, lungs and/ or the digestive tract. For instance, if Kaposi's sarcoma develops in the digestive tract, it may result in hemorrhages and when it occurs in the lungs, it makes breathing troublesome.
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There are some forms of cancers, especially those of the breast and lungs, which are of many different natures and they suggest that either distinct types of cells have turned out to be carcinogenic or different sorts of alterations have taken place in a specific type of cell. Conversely, the dissimilar forms of Kaposi's sarcoma are characterized by the separate body areas where it grows. However, it may be noted that modifications in the anomalous cells of Kaposi's sarcoma are extremely identical.
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While many forms of Kaposi's sarcoma may result in death within a few months of developing this type of cancer, it is also curable provided the immune system of the patients is healthy. However, people already suffering from AIDS and developing Kaposi's sarcoma generally do not survive for long after being affected by Kaposi's sarcoma herpes virus (KSHV).
It has been seen that aged men suffering from sluggishly developing Kaposi's sarcoma in just one or two places of the body may be treated successfully by removing their tumours either surgically or by freezing. However, patients having lesions on several areas of the body usually need to be treated with radiation therapy. On the other hand, people who have very less number of lesions and do not have any additional symptoms may even prefer to skip treatment till their condition spreads to new body areas. In effect, patients who have developed an aggressive form of the disease, but still have a normal immune system, frequently do well when treated with chemotherapy drugs and/ or interferon-alpha medications.
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As discussed earlier, patients who generally take medications that suppress the immune system, often find that their tumours have disappeared when they discontinue taking the immunosuppressant medications. However, if it becomes essential to continue with these immunosuppressant drugs owing to the basic conditions of the patient, physicians generally use radiation therapy and chemotherapy to treat Kaposi's sarcoma. Nevertheless, it has been found that these methods of treatment are not as successful in patients having a vigorous immune system compared to those whose immune system is weak. Same is the case with patients suffering from AIDS; even in their case chemotherapy and radiation therapy does little to help. In fact, the utmost results of employing radiation therapy and chemotherapy are witnessed in patients whose immune system becomes stronger following thorough healing with the drugs used to treat AIDS. Generally speaking, treating patients who have developed Kaposi's sarcoma is unlikely to extend the life span of people who are already enduring AIDS.
The best possible method to treat the fundamental HIV infection is to employ potent combinations of potent antiviral drugs that help to holdback HIV from multiplying provided the lesions caused by Kaposi's sarcoma have not become extensive or unmanageable. In effect, it has been found that the use of such drugs not only lessens the occurrence of, but is also likely to avoid the ailment's advancement or progress to result in the development of new lesions. However, it is yet to be ascertained why this particular method is effective. According to one viewpoint, the increase in the functioning of the immune system leads to diminished intensity of proteins that induce the growth of carcinogenic tumours.
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In the instance of Kaposi's sarcoma that has a very sluggish growth, treating the condition locally often proves to be sufficient. The superficial lesions caused by this type of KS may be easily got rid of by means of surgery. The other alternative treatments in this case include, electrical curettage and radiation therapy, wherein the lesions are burnt using an electrical current also known as 'cryotherapy'. It may be noted that cryotherapy employs the application of a very cold source, for instance, liquefied nitrogen, to the areas affected by this type of cancer with a view to eliminate the carcinogenic cells.
Many of the patients who endure Kaposi's sarcoma following any organ transplantation, it may be sufficient to lessen the dose of drugs administered to the patients to regulate the immune system or even to eradicate the cancer. However, this treatment approach augments the chances of the immune system rejecting the new organ. A report published by Spain's University of Barcelona says that any modification in the medication may possibly help in solving the problems of Kaposi's sarcoma following an organ transplant.
Normally, a patient who has developed epidemic or AIDS related Kaposi's sarcoma requires complete chemotherapy, which employs drugs to get rid of the carcinogenic cells. It is worth mentioning here that the patients may receive chemotherapy by taking pills or it may also administered into the body by means of a needle, either in the muscle or in any vein. In fact, chemotherapy is denoted as a systemic healing as the drug goes into the bloodstream, passes throughout the body and also has the aptitude to eliminate cancerous cells that are beyond the original site. Since Kaposi's sarcoma is considered to be a systemic ailment, frequently occurring in several different parts of the body at the same time, it also requires a systemic therapy.
It is worth mentioning here that the organization called Gay Men's Health Crisis, also known as GMHC, has actually assessed some alternative treatment modes that have been experimented in people having Kaposi's sarcoma. However, their findings did not reveal any result that is unswervingly reliable. The various methods of treatments reviewed by the GMHC included use of shark cartilage, herbal as well as cathartic massage therapies with a view to augment the functioning of the immune system as well as transcendental meditation. In fact, physicians have also experimented with homeopathic remedies, but even in this case, the results have not proved to be very consistent.
In addition to conventional treatments, people suffering from the form of skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma may find external application of lemon balm along with other herbs to facilitate treating the condition. They may prepare an effective herbal formula by making a paste of lemon balm cream, and a few drop of formula akin to Hoxsey that contains powdered turmeric, potassium iodide and apply it on the skin surface affected by Kaposi's sarcoma for a minimum of twice every day.
Besides conventional treatments like immune suppressant drugs, surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy as well as employing herbs and supplements, people having Kaposi's sarcoma may take some more initiatives to facilitate the treatment of their condition.
As discussed above, the form of skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma, especially the classic type, results in development of lesions mainly on the hands, arms, legs and feet. Although these lesions are generally painless, barring when their size becomes very large so as to create pressure on the blood and lymph vessels, they basically make the skin look very ugly. In such cases, the physicians ask the patients not to use any type of external treatments since they do not help in changing the look of the lesions, but may result in unwarranted irritation of the skin. Hence, the best possible thing to do in such instances is to wrap the lesions with slack, relaxed clothes. In the event of the patient also enduring HIV/ AIDS-related type of Kaposi's sarcoma or endemic KS, it is likely that their entire body would have a propensity to develop such lesions. It is unfortunate that in such instances they can only avail conventional treatment to treat their condition as well as make the appearance of the lesions better, but this often proves to be inadequate.
The good news is that with advancements made in antiretroviral treatment, the incidences of developing endemic or HIV/ AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma have actually witnessed a sharp decline. Nevertheless, any patient infected by HIV or having AIDS and is not taking any medication to cure his/ her condition, they face about 20 per cent risk or chances of developing Kaposi's sarcoma. Taking into account the fact that with the development of innovative antiretroviral remedies, there has been a remarkable decline, up to 80 per cent from what has been some years back, in the incidences of Kaposi's sarcoma among those suffering from HIV as well as AIDS, one needs to pursue a prescribed treatment schedule using drugs that deal with HIV with a view to prevent developing Kaposi's sarcoma as well as various different problems related to this syndrome.
Kaposi's sarcoma is attributable to human herpes virus, also known as HHV-8, and provided you have already developed this form of skin cancer or you are very susceptible to developing this disease, it is essential for you to make all efforts to restrict yourself from coming in contact with this pathogen. It is worth mentioning here that compared to the common people, individuals who have had an organ transplant and are already coping with HIV and AIDS, in addition to the Italians as well as Jews from Eastern Europe are very susceptible to developing Kaposi's sarcoma. While the exact manner in which HHV-8 spreads is yet to be ascertained, till date physicians are aware of the fact that a mere two per cent of the common populace are carriers of this virus. In comparison to this, approximately 18 per cent of men who are homosexual as well as HIV-negative and as much as 40 to 50 per cent of men who are gay and HIV-positive carry this virus. Hence, it is extremely possible that men who engage in sex with other men comprise a major risk factor for transmitting the HHV-8.
In the event of the Kaposi's sarcoma patient being a male who engages in same sex or homosexual activities, it is mandatory that they always practice safe sex. In fact, it is much easy to adopt a few precautionary measures than having to deal with carcinogenic skin lesions.
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