Tests that Help Evaluate Kaposi Sarcoma

Your doctor may also suggest these tests to find out if you have Kaposi sarcoma (KS) and where it is:

Biopsy. This is a procedure in which tissue samples are removed (with a needle or during surgery) from the body for examination under a microscope to determine if cancer or other abnormal cells are present. There are two types of biopsy, including the following:

  • Needle biopsy. A small needle is inserted into the abnormal area in almost any part of the body, guided by imaging techniques if necessary, to obtain a tissue biopsy. This type of biopsy can provide a diagnosis without surgical intervention.

  • Open biopsy. This is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made through the skin to expose the tumor and allow a sample of tissue to be cut or scraped away.

Bronchoscopy. If your doctor sees suspicious lesions or nodules on the chest X-rays, he or she may recommend a bronchoscopy for diagnosis. This test uses a thin, flexible tube called a bronchoscope, which is equipped with a light and a camera lens. The doctor inserts it into your windpipe to look for lesions inside your trachea. Your doctor can take biopsies during this test to send to a pathologist to examine. A pathologist is a doctor trained in looking at cancer cells. If you have a bleeding lesion, the doctor can stop the bleeding during this test.

Computed tomography (CT scan). Your doctor may use this test for a more detailed evaluation of lung lesions. A CT scan uses an X-ray beam to take pictures of the inside of your body from many angles. A computer combines these pictures and gives the doctor a detailed cross-section view of the body.

Endoscopy. For lesions in the gastrointestinal tract (GI tract), the doctor will use a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope, which is equipped with a light and a camera lens. This tube lets the doctor see inside your esophagus, stomach, and a portion of your intestines. The doctor can use the endoscope to take biopsies of lesions in your GI tract. Lesions can also grow in your rectum. Sometimes, a doctor can find these lesions by inserting a gloved finger in your anus. Normally though, these lesions grow under the surface of rectal tissue and have to be found with an endoscope.

X-ray. An X-ray machine takes a picture of the inside of the chest. The doctor may use a chest X-ray to see KS in your lungs.