There are approximately 900 new cases of GIST a year in the UK[1] . They can occur anywhere in the gastrointestinal tract with approximately 50% found in the stomach, 25% in the small bowel and 10% in the colon and rectum.

Some Symptoms of GIST

  • Gastrointestinal bleeding (the most common presenting symptom)
  • Symptoms of abdominal mass and bowel obstruction.
  • Feeling full early after eating
  • Bloating
  • Fatigue (because of anaemia)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Night sweats.

How is it diagnosed

If, after taking a history and a physical exam, there is a reason to suspect that you may have a GIST, the doctor will use imaging tests, or endoscopy exams to help find out if it is cancer. If it is a GIST, further tests will be done to help determine the extent (stage) of the cancer.[2]

Treatment and side effects

  • The main treatment is a complete surgical resection-. Careful handling is needed so as to avoid tumour rupture and intra-abdominal dissemination. Open, trans-sacral or endoscopic surgery are treatment options. Laparoscopic surgery may also be used for some tumours.[3] [4]
  • Subsequent management depends on the risk of recurrence according to the prediction of the tumour’s behaviour.
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor therapy is common. Some side-effects include anaemia, fatigue, nausea, diarrhoea, skin rashes and liver toxicity. [5] [6]
  • A follow-up CT scan should be performed at three months after surgery 4
  • Chemotherapy and radiation therapy is used less often.

If your cancer was misdiagnosed, diagnosed later than it should have been or mistreated you may be able to bring a medical negligence claim. Our clinical negligence team can help you bring a compensation claim, which can give you and your family peace of mind.

[1] Kindblom LG, “Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Diagnosis, Epidemiology and Prognosis” in “Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors: Current management and Future Challenges”. Chair: Blanke CD. ASCO 2003
[3] .Gervaz P, Huber O, Morel P; Surgical management of gastrointestinal stromal tumours. Br J Surg. 2009 Jun;96(6):567-78.
[4] Tabrizian P, Nguyen SQ, Divino CM; Laparoscopic management and longterm outcomes of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. J Am Coll Surg. 2009 Jan;208(1):80-6. Epub 2008 Oct 31.
[5] Guidelines for the management of gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTS); Association of Upper Gastrointestinal Surgeons for Great Britain and Ireland (2009)
[6] Imatinib for the treatment of unresectable and/or metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumours; NICE Technology Appraisal Guideline (November 2010)
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