How Does My Doctor Know I Have Kaposi’s Sarcoma?
Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) lesions can look like other kinds of skin problems. Because of this, your doctor will take a sample of the lesion to see whether it is KS. This sample is called a biopsy. Usually, KS cells are easy to see under a microscope, and your doctor should be able to confirm the diagnosis.
For large skin lesions, your doctor will normally do a punch biopsy. During a punch biopsy, the doctor takes a small piece of the lesion for examination. When the doctor removes the entire lesion, it is called an excisional biopsy. This type of biopsy is usually done when there is only one small lesion, or if removing the whole lesion will help ease skin irritation or other symptoms. If you have a lot of lesions, the doctor might biopsy many of them to see if they are all KS.
Your doctor may also order a chest X-ray to determine whether or not there are any KS lesions in your lungs. If the chest X-ray is abnormal, your doctor may then recommend a bronchoscopy, which is a procedure that allows doctors to inspect the lungs directly. During a bronchoscopy, a small, flexible bronchoscope with a camera at the end is inserted through the mouth into the windpipe and then advanced into the lungs. If any suspicious lesions are seen during the procedure, they can be biopsied at that time.