Sarcoidosis is a condition in which tiny clumps of cells are produced in various organs of the body. It is not a form of cancer. The condition usually affects the lungs, skin, eyes, and liver, but it can occur anywhere in the body. The disease often develops slowly over time, and symptoms are not always apparent. Once diagnosed, it may be treated with prednisone, other medications, and local treatments (such as eye drops).
Sarcoidosis involves inflammation that produces tiny lumps of cells in various organs in your body. The lumps are called granulomas because they look like grains of sugar or sand. They are very small and can be seen only with a microscope.
These tiny granulomas can grow and clump together, making several large and small groups of lumps. If many granulomas form in an organ, they can affect how the organ works. This can cause symptoms of sarcoidosis.
Sarcoidosis is not a form of cancer.
Sarcoidosis was once thought to be an uncommon condition. It's now known to affect tens of thousands of people throughout the United States. Because many people who have sarcoidosis have no symptoms, it's hard to know the exact number of people who have the condition.
Sarcoidosis can occur in almost any part of your body, although it usually affects some organs more than others. It usually starts in one of two places:
- Lymph nodes, especially the lymph nodes in your chest cavity.
It also often affects the:
Less often, sarcoidosis affects the:
- Tear glands
- Salivary glands
- Bones and joints.
In rare cases, it affects other organs, including the:
- Thyroid gland
- Reproductive organs.
Sarcoidosis almost always occurs in more than one organ at a time.