Metastatic Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

Metastatic Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

Metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a type of cancer that begins in certain cells of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract when the DNA of these cells becomes unstable. It is an aggressive cancer that can spread quickly and must be treated promptly. GIST is most commonly found in the stomach and small intestine, but can also originate in the large intestine or esophagus. It is the most common type of cancer of the GI tract, but is still considered rare.

GIST is usually diagnosed from imaging tests such as ultrasound, MRI, CT scans, and PET scans, or through endoscopy and biopsy of suspected tumors. Doctors may also look for certain genetic markers that are often associated with GIST. Treatments for GIST include surgery, radiation, targeted drugs, and chemotherapy.

Symptoms of GIST may include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the stool
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling full quickly when eating
  • General fatigue

It is important to consult a doctor if any of these symptoms are experienced as they could be a sign of cancer. Early diagnosis can help greatly improve the outlook for GIST patients.