What is a gastrointestinal stromal?

Gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) are uncommon cancers that start in special cells in the wall of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, also known as the digestive tract. To understand GISTs, it helps to know something about the structure and function of the GI tract.

Are all gastrointestinal stromal tumors cancerous?

GISTs are uncommon tumors that can grow anywhere in your digestive tract , from the esophagus to the anus. Some GISTs are small and not harmful, while others may be larger or cancerous. While some people may have no symptoms, others may feel unwell or have pain or bleeding.

Where is the gastrointestinal stromal?

A gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a type of tumor that occurs in the gastrointestinal tract, most commonly in the stomach or small intestine. This type of tumor is thought to grow from specialized cells found in the gastrointestinal tract called interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) or precursors to these cells.

What is the survival rate for gastrointestinal stromal tumors?

If the tumor has not spread from the organ where it started, the 5-year survival rate is 93%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or organs, the 5-year survival rate is 80%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body when it was first diagnosed, the survival rate is 55%.

What are the symptoms of gastrointestinal stromal tumors?

Other symptoms of GISTs can include:

  • Abdominal (belly) pain.
  • A mass or swelling in the abdomen.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Feeling full after eating only a small amount of food.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Weight loss.
  • Problems swallowing (for tumors in the esophagus)

Is gastrointestinal stromal tumor curable?

Resectable gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) can be completely or almost completely removed by surgery. Treatment may include the following: Surgery to remove tumors that are 2 centimeters or larger. Laparoscopic surgery may be done if the tumor is 5 cm or smaller.

Does GIST run in families?

Inheriting certain genetic syndromes. Most GISTs are sporadic (not inherited) and have no clear cause. In rare cases, though, GISTs have been found in several members of the same family. These family members have inherited a gene mutation (change) that can lead to GISTs.

Should a GIST be removed?

Unlike many other cancers, GISTs almost never spread to the lymph nodes, so removing nearby lymph nodes is usually not needed.