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WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Kaposi sarcoma (KS) is a type of skin cancer. KS may appear on any part of your skin. It can also be found in your lymph nodes, stomach, intestines, liver, spleen, lungs, and bones. KS may start in one area and spread to other areas. This cancer is most common in people who have HIV, AIDS, or a human herpes virus-8 (HHV-8) infection. People who have had an organ transplant may also get KS.
- Medicines may be given to decrease pain. You may also get medicine to put on your skin to stop cancer cells from growing and to kill new cancer cells. If you have HIV or AIDS, you will be given medicine to treat the viral infection.
- Take your medicine as directed. Call your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
Follow up with your healthcare provider or oncologist as directed:
Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.
Manage your symptoms of KS:
- Care for your mouth. Brush your teeth twice daily. Floss your teeth regularly, and use mouthwash. This may decrease your risk for mouth pain and trouble eating and swallowing.
- Eat healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. Ask if you need to be on a special diet.
- Wear support stockings and elevate your legs as directed by your healthcare provider to decrease swelling. Support stockings are also called compression garments. Support stockings are often worn during the day and removed at night. Ask your healthcare provider how to care for your skin.
- Go to physical therapy as directed. A physical therapist teaches you exercises to help improve movement and strength, and to decrease pain.
Contact your healthcare provider or oncologist if:
- You have a fever.
- You get more sores on your skin, or they are more painful or itch.
- You have increased fatigue or weakness.
- Your hands and feet are itchy, swollen, or painful.
- You have numbness or tingling in your hand or foot.
- You have trouble eating or swallowing.
- You have nausea or vomiting that will not stop.
- You have diarrhea or constipation, or blood in your bowel movement.
- Your leg is swollen and painful and makes it difficult to walk.
- You have bone pain or increased headaches.
- You cannot control when you urinate.
- You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.
Return to the emergency department if:
- You have trouble breathing or cough up blood.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.