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Other Types of Skin Cancer: Kaposi Sarcoma

What is Kaposi sarcoma?

Kaposi sarcoma is a cancer that starts in the skin's blood vessels. Kaposi sarcoma comes in two forms: a slow-growing form, and a more aggressive, faster-spreading form. The slow-growing form usually starts as a purple or dark-brown, flat or raised, area on the lower leg. The more aggressive form of Kaposi sarcoma starts as a pink, red, or purple, round or oval, spot anywhere on the body, and may affect internal organs.

Who is at risk for Kaposi sarcoma?

  • Classic Kaposi sarcoma. A slower-growing form of the disease that is more common in older people, especially those of European, Italian, or Middle Eastern descent.

  • African Kaposi sarcoma. This can be slow-growing or more aggressive, and often affects children and young men in African nations near the equator.

  • Transplant-related Kaposi sarcoma. This occurs in people receiving immune-suppressing drugs, such as those administered after organ transplants.

  • Epidemic (AIDS-related) Kaposi sarcoma. An aggressive form of the disease that occurs in people with AIDS.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/3/2014
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