Gastrointestinal stromal tumors, or GISTs, are tumors that grow in the tissues of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. The GI tract includes the:
- Small intestine
- Large intestine
Together these organs help digest and draw nutrients from food. Generally, GIST tumors affect either the stomach or the small intestine.
The team of surgical oncologists at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital and Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center provides the most advanced, research-driven care in our area for all types of GIST tumors. You benefit from our many years of training and experience treating cancer. We treat patients with a multidisciplinary approach, which draws on the expertise of specialists in a variety of areas. We also offer access to the most advanced cancer clinical trials.
In addition, the MedStar Georgetown mission of cura personalis, or caring for the entire person, guides our work. We strive to serve all of our patients with compassion, kindness, and respect.
GIST Risk Factors
We often don’t know why certain people develop GIST. In some cases, though, risk factors can increase your chances of developing this disease. The primary risk factor for GIST is genetics, meaning that the cancer can run in families. Certain genetic syndromes may also be GIST risk factors, including:
- Neurofibromatosis type 1
- Carney triad
Make sure to discuss with your doctor your chances of developing GIST if you have any of these risk factors.
Most patients with GIST do not have any specific symptoms. GIST symptoms are common to a variety of different problems. Check with your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Blood in your vomit or stool
- Severe stomach pain
- Painful swallowing
- Your stomach feels full even after eating just a small amount
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