Understanding AIDS-related cancers

Even though a disease like cancer can happen to anyone and at any age, but there are certain kinds of cancers that are archetypical to AIDS patients. These are the group of certain cancers that are repeatedly identified in the people with HIV/AIDS.  However, it does not completely mean that people who are not suffering from HIV/AIDS cannot develop these cancers. They are only most referred to HIV/AIDS cancers because they are mostly diagnosed in the AIDS patients.

Types of AIDS-related cancers

As mentioned already, there are certain types of cancers related directly to AIDS. These kinds of cancers include:

Kaposi’s sarcomaLymphomaCervical cancerAnal cancerOral cancerTesticular cancerSkin cancerLung cancer

The cancer types such as lymphoma, invasive cervical and Kaposi’s sarcoma cancers are typically AIDS-defining illnesses which also indicate the onset of AIDS or advanced HIV.

What causes these cancers?

Because these cancers are typically found in AIDS patients does not mean that they are caused because of AIDS virus only. There are certain factors which can lead to these kinds of cancers in the body. It has been found that the weak immune system in the AIDS patients lead to development of cancers easily. There are other major risk factors and these include genetics, smoking and drinking. People with HIV/AIDS should avoid these kinds of habits because it increases their chances of acquiring cancer. Researches are still being conducted to exactly find out the connection of cancer in AIDS patients.

Primarily, the most common kinds of cancers diagnosed in AIDS patients include lymphoma and Kaposi’s sarcoma. However with an increase in anti-retroviral treatment, there has been considerable decrease in these cancers in AIDS patients.

Symptoms of AIDS-related cancers

The symptoms of AIDS-related cancers can vary from different types. However, any kind of distinct symptoms should be immediately reported to the physician and it should be evaluated properly.

Diagnosis of AIDS-related cancers

How the particular cancer is diagnosed totally depends on which cancer the doctor is looking for. Commonly, lab tests, biopsies, endoscopies, imaging tests and certain other typical methods can be used for diagnosing the AIDS-related cancers.

AIDS-related cancer treatment

Like symptoms and diagnosis, the treatment of AIDS related cancers also depend on the particular kind of cancer. However, there are certain common methods and these include radiation therapy, chemotherapy as well as surgery.

People suffering from AIDS might face unique challenges during their treatment. this is because of low WBC’s, i.e., white blood cells and weak immune system. Factors like these further complicate the treatment of cancer. Initiating the anti-HIV therapy can help in better response. 

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