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What to Know About Your Treatment Choices for Kaposi Sarcoma

Doctor talking to male patient

Your treatment choices for Kaposi sarcoma (KS) depend on the results of your lab tests and the extent, called the stage, of the disease. Your doctor will also consider these factors when recommending a treatment:

  • How far your HIV or AIDS has progressed, if you are infected

  • The location and size of your lesions

  • Your age

  • Your general health

You’ll probably want to learn all you can about your disease and treatment choices. That way, you can take an active part in decisions about your medical care. You are likely to have many questions and concerns about your treatment options. You’ll probably want to know how you will function after treatment. You’ll also want to know if you will have to change your normal activities.

Your doctor is the best person to answer your questions. Your doctor can tell you about your treatment choices, the expected success of those treatments, and the possible risks and side effects. Take the time you need to make the best decision for you.

Treatment for KS is either local or systemic.

Local treatments remove, destroy, or control KS cells in one area. The main local treatments for KS are surgery and radiation therapy. Another local treatment uses liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill KS cells. This is called cryosurgery. Doctors also can place medication on the lesions or inject it into them.

Systemic treatments destroy or control cancer cells throughout the entire body. These treatments affect the whole body by traveling through the bloodstream. Chemotherapy and immunotherapy are systemic treatments for KS. You may have just one treatment or a combination of treatments.

Online Medical Reviewer: Fetterman, Anne, RN, BSN
Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Date Last Reviewed: 2/1/2014
© 2013 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare provider's instructions.
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