The GI tract is made up of the following organs :. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors GISTs may be malignant cancer or benign not cancer. They are most common in the stomach and small intestine but may be found anywhere in or near the GI tract. Enlarge Gastrointestinal stromal tumors GISTs may be found anywhere in or near the gastrointestinal tract. Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn't mean that you will not get cancer.
Talk with your doctor if you think you may be at risk. The risk of GIST is increased in people who have inherited a mutation change in a certain gene. In rare cases, GISTs can be found in several members of the same family. GIST may be part of a genetic syndrome , but this is rare. A genetic syndrome is a set of symptoms or conditions that occur together and is usually caused by abnormal genes. The following genetic syndromes have been linked to GIST:. These and other signs and symptoms may be caused by a GIST or by other conditions. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:.
If cancer is found, the following tests may be done to study the cancer cells:. Sometimes GISTs are smaller than the eraser on top of a pencil. Tumors may be found during a procedure that is done for another reason, such as an x-ray or surgery. Some of these small tumors will not grow and cause signs or symptoms or spread to the abdomen or other parts of the body. Doctors do not agree on whether these small tumors should be removed or whether they should be watched to see if they begin to grow.
The prognosis chance of recovery and treatment options depend on the following:. The process used to find out if cancer has spread within the gastrointestinal GI tract or to other parts of the body is called staging. The information gathered from the staging process determines the stage of the disease. The following tests and procedures may be used in the staging process:.
Cancer can spread through tissue , the lymph system , and the blood :. When cancer spreads to another part of the body, it is called metastasis. Cancer cells break away from where they began the primary tumor and travel through the lymph system or blood. The metastatic tumor is the same type of tumor as the primary tumor. The disease is metastatic GIST, not liver cancer.
View this video on YouTube. For many cancers it is important to know the stage of the cancer in order to plan treatment. However, the treatment of GIST is not based on the stage of the cancer. Treatment is based on whether the tumor can be removed by surgery and if the tumor has spread to other parts of the abdomen or to distant parts of the body.
Different types of treatments are available for patients with gastrointestinal stromal tumors GISTs. Some treatments are standard the currently used treatment , and some are being tested in clinical trials. A treatment clinical trial is a research study meant to help improve current treatments or obtain information on new treatments for patients with cancer. When clinical trials show that a new treatment is better than the standard treatment, the new treatment may become the standard treatment.
Gastrointestinal Cancer Services | Signs and Symptoms | GI cancer | UCI Health | Orange County, CA
Patients may want to think about taking part in a clinical trial. Some clinical trials are open only to patients who have not started treatment. If the GIST has not spread and is in a place where surgery can be safely done, the tumor and some of the tissue around it may be removed. Sometimes surgery is done using a laparoscope a thin, lighted tube to see inside the body.
Small incisions cuts are made in the wall of the abdomen and a laparoscope is inserted into one of the incisions. Instruments may be inserted through the same incision or through other incisions to remove organs or tissues. Targeted therapy is a type of treatment that uses drugs or other substances to identify and attack specific cancer cells without harming normal cells.
Tyrosine kinase inhibitors TKIs are targeted therapy drugs that block signals needed for tumors to grow. TKIs are sometimes given for as long as the tumor does not grow and serious side effects do not occur. If a GIST gets worse during treatment or there are side effects, supportive care is usually given. The goal of supportive care is to prevent or treat the symptoms of a disease, side effects caused by treatment, and psychological , social, and spiritual problems related to a disease or its treatment.
Supportive care helps improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease. Radiation therapy is sometimes given as supportive care to relieve pain in patients with large tumors that have spread. Information about clinical trials is available from the NCI website. For information about side effects caused by treatment for cancer, see our Side Effects page. For some patients, taking part in a clinical trial may be the best treatment choice.
Clinical trials are part of the cancer research process. Clinical trials are done to find out if new cancer treatments are safe and effective or better than the standard treatment. Many of today's standard treatments for cancer are based on earlier clinical trials. Patients who take part in a clinical trial may receive the standard treatment or be among the first to receive a new treatment. Patients who take part in clinical trials also help improve the way cancer will be treated in the future.
Even when clinical trials do not lead to effective new treatments, they often answer important questions and help move research forward. Some clinical trials only include patients who have not yet received treatment.
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Other trials test treatments for patients whose cancer has not gotten better. There are also clinical trials that test new ways to stop cancer from recurring coming back or reduce the side effects of cancer treatment. Clinical trials are taking place in many parts of the country. Clinical trials supported by other organizations can be found on the ClinicalTrials. Some of the tests that were done to diagnose the cancer or to find out the stage of the cancer may be repeated.
Some tests will be repeated in order to see how well the treatment is working. Decisions about whether to continue, change, or stop treatment may be based on the results of these tests. Some of the tests will continue to be done from time to time after treatment has ended.
General Information About Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors
The results of these tests can show if your condition has changed or if the cancer has recurred come back. These tests are sometimes called follow-up tests or check-ups. For information about the treatments listed below, see the Treatment Option Overview section. Resectable gastrointestinal stromal tumors GISTs can be completely or almost completely removed by surgery.
Treatment may include the following:.
Grading and Staging in Gastroenterology
Unresectable GISTs cannot be completely removed by surgery because they are too large or in a place where there would be too much damage to nearby organs if the tumor is removed. Treatment is usually a clinical trial of targeted therapy with imatinib mesylate to shrink the tumor, followed by surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible. Treatment of GISTs that are metastatic spread to other parts of the body or recurrent came back after treatment may include the following:.
Treatment is usually a clinical trial with a different TKI or a clinical trial of a new drug. Use our clinical trial search to find NCI-supported cancer clinical trials that are accepting patients. You can search for trials based on the type of cancer, the age of the patient, and where the trials are being done.
General information about clinical trials is also available. For more information from the National Cancer Institute about gastrointestinal stromal tumors, see the following:. For general cancer information and other resources from the National Cancer Institute, see the following:. The PDQ database contains summaries of the latest published information on cancer prevention, detection, genetics, treatment, supportive care, and complementary and alternative medicine.
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A clinical trial is a study to answer a scientific question, such as whether one treatment is better than another. Trials are based on past studies and what has been learned in the laboratory. Each trial answers certain scientific questions in order to find new and better ways to help cancer patients. During treatment clinical trials, information is collected about the effects of a new treatment and how well it works.
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