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What Are Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors?

Winning the battle against a life-threatening disease begins with being armed with essential information.

Malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) belong to a cluster of cancers known as soft tissue sarcomas. GISTs begin in specialized nerve cells found in the walls of the digestive system. These cells are part of the autonomic nervous system. A particular change in the DNA of one of these nerve cells, which control digestive processes, gives rise to a GI stromal tumor.

The most common sites for gastrointestinal stromal tumors are the stomach and small intestine. There are rare cases when GISTs arise in the esophagus, appendix, pancreas, peritoneum (membranous tissue lining the wall of the stomach), and omentum (membranous tissue fold).

Symptoms of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

The symptoms depend on the size of the tumor and its location. Because of this, they often vary in severity and from one person to another.

Signs of gastrointestinal stromal tumors may include:

  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the stools or vomit
  • Low level of red blood cells (anemia)
  • A painless mass in the abdomen
  • A high temperature (fever) and sweating at night
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Bowel obstruction
  • A bloated feeling after eating small amounts
  • Pain or difficulty when swallowing
  • Fatigue (tiredness and a feeling of weakness)

If you have persistent symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. Vomiting blood or passing blood in your stool may be a sign of rapid bleeding from the tumor.

Causes of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

The exact cause of GISTs is not understood. There are only a few known risk factors for GISTs:

  • Age between 50 and 80, although GIST can occur in people younger than 40
  • A family history of genetic syndromes:
    • Neurofibromatosis type 1
    • Familial gastrointestinal stromal tumor syndrome
    • Mutations in the succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) genes

The risk factors for GISTs are vague and do not always determine whether a person will or will not have cancer. Still, it is important to speak with your physician if you think you may be at risk of gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

Diagnostic Tests for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

Early detection is key to improving your gastrointestinal stromal tumor prognosis. Doctors may use the following tests and procedures to make an accurate diagnosis:

  • Medical history and physical exam
  • Fecal occult blood test
  • Computed tomography (CT) scan
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound
  • Biopsy

Why Choose Us for Alternative Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment?

When you come to New Hope Unlimited for GIST care, you become the center of our entire treatment facility. Our cancer care team, which includes surgical oncologists and gastroenterologists, as well as highly skilled support staff, will work together to provide personalized and comprehensive care at every step. We address gastrointestinal stromal tumors with advanced technology and cutting-edge techniques, many of which are unavailable at most cancer facilities.

Don’t lose sight of New Hope amidst your battle against cancer. Click here to learn more about our treatment strategy.

Our Approach

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Our Patient-Centric Medical Facilities

At New Hope Unlimited, we pride ourselves in providing superior comfort, cleanliness, and cancer care at our 8,000 square foot medical treatment center in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico. We worked with renowned architects and contractors to create the ideal space for recovery, which includes state-of-the-art lounge areas and spacious private in-rooms that assure the comfort of our patients and their loved ones. To make our patients feel right at home, we equip each private ward with high-definition U.S. television, quality bedding, and high-speed internet connection. And with proper nutrition playing a vital role in cancer recovery, New Hope Unlimited also fulfills the dietary needs of each patient using fresh, organic produce to prepare breakfasts, lunches, snacks, and dinners. Comfort and cleanliness are also strictly implemented in our medical treatment rooms, which are equipped with the latest medical supplies and technology to provide the highest standard of care and treatment. Our medical center also has an in-house Hyperbaric Chamber, a well-established therapy for decompression sickness, exclusively available for our patients’ use. Further, New Hope Unlimited has maintained its exceptional partnership with Hospital Migoo, a medical group composed of certified physicians and specialists committed to our patients’ care and well-being.

Stories of New Hope

Life-changing tales of our cancer patients and survivors. Alternative Cancer Treatment Testimonial from Jerome

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1. What specific treatments does New Hope offer?

Click the link to learn about our powerful combination of mainstream and alternative cancer treatments for over 200 cancer types, including malignant gastrointestinal stromal tumors.

2. What should I know about gastrointestinal stromal tumor survival rates?

The overall 5-year survival rate of people diagnosed with a GIST is about 76%, according to the ACS. If the tumor has not spread to other body parts, the 5-year survival rate is 91%.


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