Being told you have Kaposi sarcoma (KS) can be scary and overwhelming. You may have many questions. But you have people on your healthcare team to help.
Coping with fear
It’s normal to feel afraid. Learning about the cancer and your treatment choices can help you feel less afraid. This also helps you work with your healthcare team and make the best choices for your treatment. You can also ask to speak with a counselor.
Working with your healthcare team
You will likely have different types of healthcare providers on your healthcare team. These might include:
Medical oncologist. This is a healthcare provider who specializes in treating cancer with medicines like immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.
Radiation oncologist. This is a healthcare provider who specializes in treating cancer with radiation therapy.
Dermatologist. This is a healthcare provider who specializes in treating skin diseases. Some dermatologists specialize in cancer treatment-related side effects, such as hair, skin, and nail problems. This is known as supportive oncodermatology. Your oncologist may refer you to one of these specialists.
Infectious disease specialist. This is a healthcare provider who treats infectious diseases, like HIV and AIDS.
Many other healthcare professionals, like nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists, will be part of your team as well. They will answer any questions you may have. They’ll help you through each of the steps you’ll take before, during, and after treatment. Your team will let you know what tests you need and the results of those tests. They’ll help you make treatment decisions and help prepare you and your loved ones for what’s ahead.
Learning about treatment choices
To decide the best course of treatment for you, your healthcare team needs to know as much as they can about the cancer. This may mean getting blood and imaging tests and working with more than one healthcare provider.
You also may decide that you want to get a second opinion to help you choose a treatment. This is common in cancer care, and your team can help you with it. For instance, they can help you collect your imaging scans, lab test results, and pathology reports. They may also recommend another healthcare provider.
Coping with cancer can be very stressful. Talk with your healthcare team about seeing a counselor. They can refer you to someone who can help. You can also join support groups to talk with other people coping with Kaposi sarcoma. Ask your healthcare team about local or online support groups.