One of the most notable features of the AIDS epidemic has been the emergence of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) as a common malignancy among HIV-infected individuals. In the early 1980s, the number of people diagnosed with KS rose dramatically in some areas. A report using data from the SEER registries confirmed the marked excess of KS in San Francisco by 1981, although the overall SEER rate for nine registries showed only a slight increase. By mid-decade, public health officials believed they saw a hopeful note in the leveling off of reported cases, particularly in San Francisco, which had a high infection rate. However, studies conducted by the cancer registries of the Northern California Cancer Center and the California Tumor Registry proved this to be incorrect. The former used SEER data to demonstrate that both KS and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma incidence were continuing to increase. The second study linked data from the California Tumor Registry with the San Francisco AIDS Registry to match the incidence of KS for the years 1980-1986. Several hundred records did not match, with cases found in each registry that were not found in the other. When the unmatched and the matched records were properly combined, an increase in KS through 1986 could be seen for the San Francisco area. This work pointed to the need for further investigation into the true incidence of these tumors.
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