What is a gastrointestinal stromal tumor?
Gastrointestinal Stromal tumor (GIST) is a wide range of tumor occurring region which begins from mouth to anus. It includes the complete digestive system.
GIST most commonly affects the stomach and intestine of the patient. It usually begins from the inner lining of these organs and starts growing rapidly, intruding into the surrounding organs.
The inner lining of the digestive system consists of a nerve cell that aids in digestion. GIST is thought to originate from these nerve cells.
The main reason behind GIST is still unknown. Several things can increase the chances of getting GIST but the main cause behind it is still not known to humankind.
Some of the risk factors that could lead to GIST are older age or the answer lies in the genetic material of a patient. Many patients suffer from GIST due to the genetic inheritance of such mutations in genes.
There are several symptoms of GIST that help a doctor to identify your condition and do screening for cancer. After diagnosis and staging of cancer, an oncologist will prepare a plan of treatment for a specific patient according to their overall health and stage of cancer.
There are many ways to treat GIST, some of the commonly used techniques are surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. These techniques of treatment can be done individually or in combination with other methods to completely eradicate cancerous cells from the body of the patient.
Nowadays many other advanced treatment methods are available, consult with your doctor before treatment. Discuss the methods that can help you get the best treatment possible according to your condition.
Continue reading the article to know more about GIST, its common symptoms, and treatment methods.
What are the common symptoms of GIST?
There are several ways and common symptoms by which it is easy to detect the condition of the patients. These are some of the common symptoms of GIST as these symptoms are commonly observed in patients:
- Pain in the abdominal area
- Lump formation
- Cramps in abdominal muscles
- Feeling of fullness
- Blood in stool or dark-colored stool
Apart from these symptoms, many symptoms are not listed above but can be experienced by the patients. Consult your doctor and let them know all the symptoms that you suffer from.
Always be careful as GIST can occur at any age. It is advised to visit a doctor immediately if you experience more than three symptoms from the given list.
What are the ways to diagnose GIST?
Generally, imaging tests and biopsies are the most commonly used methods to diagnose any type of cancer. Some of the used diagnostic methods to confirm the case of GIST and know the stage of a cancer patient is suffering come form can be done by:
Imaging tests –
There are several imaging tests such as x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scan, positron emission tomography (PET) scan, and ultrasound, etc. which are generally used to diagnose cancer in a patient.
Imaging tests provide an image of the tumor, the location of the tumor, and the area it has affected. It helps the doctor to analyze which part of the organ is affected. But not every patient might need imaging tests which will be decided by the doctor.
Another crucial way to examine the tumor is a biopsy. In this method, a sample of tissues is taken from the body of the patient to examine under laboratory conditions.
This helps to determine the presence of cancerous cells and the stage of cancer. Usually, a small, thin, hollow needle is inserted into the body with the help of an endoscope to collect tissue samples. Apart from that in some cases, surgery is done to collect samples of tissue depending upon the severity of the case. A biopsy is one of the most reliable diagnostic tests for cancer.
An endoscope is a long, thin tube with a light and a camera attached at the tip of the tube. It is used to look inside the body of a patient. Endoscopes are used with other devices to take samples of the tumor or look for the position of the tumor. It is often used with an ultrasound probe to check for the size of the tumor and create pictures of the tumor.
What are the possible treatment options for GIST?
There are different ways to treat GIST which include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, etc. The type of treatment a patient must get is decided by the doctor. These methods of treatment can be used in combination or as the primary treatment option. The treatment for GIST includes:
- Surgery – Completely removing the tumor inside the gastrointestinal tract by surgical interventions. Surgery is used when the tumor has not spread to other regions of the GI tract and can be removed easily. It can only be used to treat small tumors by removing them from the body of the patients.
- Chemotherapy – One of the most common ways to treat cancer is chemotherapy, which uses drugs to kill the cancerous cells in the body. Chemotherapy is a type of treatment that uses heavy medications to kill the rapidly growing cells, cancerous cells in the body. It does have several side effects, but these side effects disappear when the medicines are discontinued.
- Radiation therapy – Radiotherapy is used to treat cancer. This method uses a high energy beam to kill cancerous cells. This high-energy beam destroys the DNA of the cancerous cells when targeted towards the tumor and hence kills the cancerous cells. Radiation therapy is quite often used to treat cancer in many patients which gives significant results.
How can cancer rounds help you get the best treatment?
Cancer Rounds offers many services for cancer patients to provide them with the best cancer treatment from the top oncologists in India.
You can send us any query regarding your condition and requirement for treatment. Our team will connect with you within 24 hours and offer the best services to get you consultation from the finest doctors.