Kaposi Sarcoma

Kaposi sarcoma is a type of cancer that causes lesions to grow in the skin, lymph nodes, internal organs, and the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat. Kaposi sarcoma typically presents as purple or red patches or lesions made up of cancer cells, blood vessels, and blood cells. Kaposi sarcoma is caused by the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8) and mostly affects individuals who already have immune deficiencies. 


If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of Kaposi sarcoma, the board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin Dermatology are here to answer any questions you may have and to provide the best care possible.

What is Kaposi Sarcoma?


Kaposi sarcoma is a type of cancer that most often affects people with immune deficiencies. The tumors may develop anywhere on the body and often look like purple, red, or brown skin blotches. These lesions consist of cancerous cells and blood vessels. 


Dermatologists diagnose Kaposi sarcoma by taking a biopsy of the lesion. If cancer is present, the dermatologist will discuss your treatment options.

Kaposi Sarcoma FAQs


A cancer diagnosis can be terrifying, and you are sure to have a lot of questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about Kaposi sarcoma:

What causes Kaposi sarcoma?

Kaposi sarcoma is caused by the human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8). This virus is spread through bodily fluids and blood or from a mother to her baby during birth.

What are the symptoms of Kaposi sarcoma?

The most common sign of Kaposi sarcoma is slightly elevated pink or purple lesions on the skin or in the mouth and/or throat. Other symptoms include unexplained cough, chest pain, stomach pain, intestinal pain, diarrhea, and/or blockage of the digestive tract.

What does Kaposi sarcoma look like?

Kaposi sarcoma looks like elevated purple, pink, or brown patches or lesions on the skin.

What are the treatment options for Kaposi sarcoma?

Treatment for Kaposi sarcoma typically involves the use of antiviral medications, radiation, or chemotherapy. In some cases, surgery may be needed.

Can Kaposi sarcoma be cured?

There is not a cure for Kaposi sarcoma or the virus that causes it. However, the disease can be controlled with treatment to prevent progression and improve symptoms.

Is Kaposi sarcoma deadly?

Every prognosis depends on the individual. However, very few people die from Kaposi if they get proper treatment. The National Cancer Institute indicates a five-year relative survival rate of about 72%.

If you have any other questions about Kaposi sarcoma or any other skin condition, please feel free to contact us today.

Contact Cumberland Skin Dermatology for Kaposi Sarcoma Treatment


The board-certified dermatologists at Cumberland Skin Dermatology provide skillful and compassionate care for the skin, hair, and nails. If you have a suspicious growth on your skin, or if you are overdue for a skin cancer screening, please schedule an appointment with us today. Dial 615-449-5771 for our Lebanon office, 615-964-5941 for our Hermitage office, or 615-824-7491 for our Hendersonville office.