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KS in two to three years?

Aug 12, 1997

Hello. Would it be very unusual to develope Kaposi's sarcoma two to three years after exposer. Also, could you describe what early lesions look like? Thank you.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that is now believed to be due to a virus (HHV-8) that is most likely sexually transmitted. This is an opportunistic disease, meaning that it primarily shows symptoms, given the opportunity of a damaged immune system. Like other opportunistic diseases related to AIDS, KS is not seen until an average of 10 years after HIV infection. Although symptoms of KS can appear as early as 2 to 3 years after infection, this would be very unlikely.

KS produces purplish areas on the skin and inside the mouth. Like other forms of cancer, these do not go away by themselves, and get larger over time. Like other cancers, over time, KS can spread to other parts of the body. It resembles many other skin problems, including skin cancers. Therefore, if you notice any type of unusual purplish areas in the mouth or on the skin, you cannot assume that it is due to KS. It may be a skin cancer (like malignant melanoma) or another skin problem. If you see anything unusual that does not go away by itself, or gets more severe, it's important to seek medical attention, regardless of what you think the cause is. If a persons symptoms are due to cancer (whether it is KS, malignant melanoma, or other forms of cancer), early detection and treatment is extremely important.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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