Gist treatment – The digestive system, the gastrointestinal tract, is a series of organs that extracts nutrients from food and liquids to provide energy and sustenance for the body. The main organs of the gastrointestinal tract are the stomach, small intestine, and large intestine (colon). The gastrointestinal tract starts with the mouth and ends with the rectum and anus.
The stomach is a J-shaped sac located on the upper left side of the abdomen. The stomach mixes food with digestive juices to break down the food. The small intestine is a long, coiled tube located behind the stomach, absorbing nutrients from food and liquids. The large intestine is a smaller tube located just below the stomach. The large intestine absorbs water from digested food to form feces.
The mouth is the first part of the gastrointestinal tract. Food enters the mouth and gets chewed by the teeth. The food is then swallowed and goes down the esophagus to the stomach. The stomach muscles churn the food and digestive juices to break down the food. The food and liquids pass through the small intestine, where most nutrients are absorbed. The undigested material then passes into the large intestine, where water is absorbed—the remaining material excretes itself as feces through the rectum and anus.
Cancers of the gastrointestinal tract account for more than 1 million cases each year in the United States. Cancers of the stomach, small intestine, colon, and rectum are the most common types of gastrointestinal tract cancers.
A Gist tumor (gastrointestinal stromal tumor), also known just as a stromal tumor, is a rare, malignant tumor that develops from cells in the stomach wall. Gist tumors account for less than 1% of all cancers. A gist tumor grows slowly and may not cause any symptoms until it is significantly large. Gist tumors are treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy.
Gist tumors are most commonly found in the stomach, but they also occur in the small intestine, colon, and rectum. Gist tumors are more common in men than women. Gist tumors are more likely to occur in people over 50.
Not all Gist tumors are the same. Nearly all cancers in the GI tract, such as stomach, esophagus, rectum, and colon cancers, start in the gland cells lining most of the GI tract. These types of cancers that develop in these cells are called adenocarcinomas. Cancers most commonly develop between the esophagus and the anus in the GI tract.
Cancers that start in squamous cells are called squamous cell carcinomas. These cells are flat and line some parts of the GI tract.
Also present in the GI tract are neuroendocrine cells, similar to nerve cells and hormone-producing cells. Cancers developed from these cells go by neuroendocrine tumors, which are rare in the GI tract. A carcinoid tumor is an example of a neuroendocrine tumor in the GI tract.
Other types of Gist tumors include:
Causes and Risk Factors of Gist Tumors
What causes stromal tumors is not known. However, some things may increase the risk of developing a Gist tumor. These include:
There are no sure ways to prevent a Gist tumor, but following the steps listed below may help reduce the risk. It is important to remember that these are only guidelines, and everyone’s risk for developing a stromal tumor may be different. Talk to a doctor if an individual has any questions or concerns about their risk of developing a Gist tumor. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for the people at risk of developing this disease to lower their chances. Many of these options include lifestyle changes and habits.
Gist tumor prevention includes:
If an individual has any of the risk factors listed above, they must talk to their doctor about the risk of developing a stromal tumor. A doctor helps understand the risk and may recommend screenings or other precautions to reduce their risk.
Gist tumors can be challenging to diagnose because they share some symptoms with other diseases. Diagnosing a Gist tumor often starts with a complete medical history and physical exam. The doctor asks about any symptoms an individual is experiencing and may do some tests, such as a CT scan or MRI, to help determine if a Gist tumor is present.
To confirm a diagnosis of a Gist tumor, the doctor may need to do a biopsy. Diagnosing Gist tumors include:
Symptoms of a Gist tumor vary depending on the location of cancer. Small tumors often do not show any signs and only begin causing problems once they grow in size, making diagnosing people with this disease even more difficult than it already is. The most common symptoms are:
People with Gist tumors may also experience other symptoms, such as:
Individuals should see a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for the best prognosis and a better chance of living a long, healthy, and everyday life.
There are a few different options for Gist treatment. These options include:
Individuals with Gist tumors often have a combination of these treatments. Treatment depends on the size, location, and stage of the tumor.
The prognosis for Gist tumors also varies depending on the size, location, and stage of the cancer. Small, localized tumors often have a good prognosis, while more extensive or more advanced tumors have a poorer prognosis. However, most individuals with Gist tumors lead a healthy and regular life with the correct treatment.