Monday, May 07, 2018 by Janine Acero
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a rare type of skin cancer characterized by patches of soft, purplish papules that form nodules in the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat, in lymph nodes, or in other organs. KS commonly occurs in older adults, or individuals with compromised immune systems such as those with AIDS.
KS is caused by the human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) which may be transmitted by kissing. KS is named after the dermatologist who first described it in 1872, Dr. Moritz Kaposi.
Known symptoms and risk factors for Kaposi sarcoma
The abnormal cells of KS form purple, red, or brown blotches or tumors on the skin, called lesions. There are different types of KS which manifest in different ways, depending on the different populations it develops in.
- AIDS-associated KS is an aggressive form characterized by a number of skin lesions, often on the face and trunk.
- Classic/Mediterranean KS is usually only a small number of lesions and usually on the ankles and soles of the feet.
- Endemic/African KS affects people under the age of 40, including children. Some forms appear identical to classic KS and others affect the lymphatic system and internal organs.
- Iatrogenic/immunosuppressive treatment-related KS can appear more suddenly. It is often confined to the skin.
The following factors can raise a person’s risk of developing KS:
- Ethnicity – People of Jewish or Mediterranean descent, as well as equatorial Africans, have a higher risk of developing KS.
- Gender – Men have a higher risk of developing KS than women.
- HHV-8 – This virus causes KS, but most people infected with HHV-8 don’t develop it. The cancer appears most often when a person with HHV-8 also has a compromised immune system.
- Immune deficiency – People with HIV/AIDS and people whose immune systems are suppressed following organ transplantation have a higher risk of developing KS.
- Sexual activity – Men who have sex with men have a higher risk of infection with HHV-8.
Body systems harmed by Kaposi sarcoma
KS was seen mainly in older Italian and Jewish men, and sometimes older women. The tumor developed quickly in people with HIV/AIDS, and may also involve the:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Other organs
Food items or nutrients that may prevent Kaposi sarcoma
The following food items are excellent sources of nutrients essential for skin healing, particularly when ravaged with cancer such as KS:
- Fish eggs
- Green tea
- Shiitake mushrooms
- Sweet potatoes
Treatments, management plans for Kaposi sarcoma
While many forms of KS may result in death, it is also curable as long as the patient’s immune system is healthy. However, people already suffering from AIDS and developing KS at the same time generally don’t survive for long.
Individuals with lesions on several areas of the body usually need to be treated with radiation therapy, while those who 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.
- Medicines are given to stop cancer cells from growing and to kill new cancer cells. If you have HIV or AIDS, you will be given medicine to treat the viral infection.
- Cryotherapy is a treatment to freeze and remove areas of KS from your skin.
- Surgery may be done to remove KS if it’s in an organ or other area that causes severe symptoms.
In addition to conventional treatments, there are also natural remedies that may help treat skin cancer, which include:
- Coconut oil – Coconut oil contains nine percent palmitic acid, which selectively kills damaged cells.
- Citrus oil – Oil extracted from citrus fruits like orange peels contains D-limolene which serves as a good topical treatment to skin cancer.
- Flax seeds – Flax seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids that help in preventing skin damage by protecting the skin from harmful UV radiation, which generates free radicals.
- Cruciferous vegetables – Studies have highlighted that eating veggies such as kale, cauliflower and broccoli can help in combating skin cancer.
Where to learn more
Kaposi sarcoma is a rare type of skin cancer. Patients develop patches of soft, purplish papules that form nodules in the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat, in lymph nodes, or in other organs.
Kaposi sarcoma commonly occurs in older adults, or individuals with weakened immune systems such as those with AIDS.
Kaposi sarcoma is caused by the human herpes virus 8.