What is KS?
Kaposis Sarcoma or KS is a type of disease that can be likened to cancer. KS was initially discovered and commonly affecting aged men with a racial background of Mediterranean or Eastern European. Kaposis Sarcoma is also known to affect men from Africa and other people who are characterized by a weak immune system. HIV infection is the most common origin of the cancer-like disease. Since HIV causes KS, it is therefore considered as a sign of AIDS or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
How does KS appear in the body? Kaposis Sarcoma appears in the skin that is characterized by scattered lesions. The lesions are small and dark. KS often appears on skin, mouth, nose or eye linings. However, it can also affect internal organs such as the liver, stomach, lungs, lymph nodes and intestines. HIV and Kaposis Sarcoma has long been linked to death and was also known as ‘gay man’s cancer’. It was discovered that KS has something to do with the growth of new, small blood vessels, which also known as angiogenesis.
Statistics show that there are 20 percent of individuals affected with AIDS is known to suffer from KS due to not taking drugs to counter HIV. However, there has been an 80 percent reduction of KS cases from the time when antiretroviral therapy (ART) was introduced. On the other hand, there are some findings that several patients whose HIV is already considered controlled still have KS. Scientists discovered these findings in 2007 but they reported the KS as not life-threatening or just mild.
Men are the mostly affected by this cancer-like disease and has 8:1 ratio against women. That means, for every 8 men 1 woman may be infected by Kaposis Sarcoma. KS is considered to be a sign of AIDS that is most noticeable. It is very conspicuous due to its physical characteristics, which is red or purple spots on fair skin and black or brownish spots on darker skin. The arms, legs and face are the most commonly affected body parts of KS.
What causes KS is not certainly known. However, scientists believe that it is due to the HHV8, a herpes virus. HHV8 is known to be transferred only by means of sexual contact. Therefore, it is believed to be transferred and acquired from person to person. Scientists explain that an individual’s immune system may determine whether Kaposis Sarcoma will develop. However, it is still relieving to learn that scientists claimed that KS occurrence is showing a decreasing trend.
Most people are clueless about KS, or something about its treatment. Many are asking if Kaposis Sarcoma is a treatable disease. The good news is, there are treatments that can be done with people affected with KS. On skin lesions, topical medication, chemotherapy, freezing with liquid nitrogen or surgical removal may be administered.
In worst cases, where internal organs are being affected by KS, chemotherapy is must be used. This type of treatment will shrink lesions affecting the internal organs. However, chemotherapy has side effects that would not be pleasing to a patient. Loss of hair, loss of appetite, vomiting and nausea are some. Moreover, this type of treatment may also affect and damage the heart and bone marrow.
Since KS is believed to be transferred from person to person through sexual contact, it is advised to avoid sex. Sex is not bad but it is certainly advised to be safe. Moreover, it is advised to refrain from having multiple sex partners as it increases the risk of acquiring the disease.