A GIST, or gastrointestinal stromal tumor, develops within the glandular cells of the digestive system, which processes food to derive energy and rids the body of solid waste. While a GIST can form anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract, which spans from the esophagus to the anus, most tumors originate in the stomach or small intestine. More rarely, a GIST might develop in the omentum (the layer of fatty tissue situated above the abdominal organs) or the peritoneum (the layer of tissue that lines the abdominal walls).
Not every GIST is cancerous or will spread to other areas of the body. Furthermore, a GIST is different from many other types of gastrointestinal cancers, such as bowel, small intestine, anal, gallbladder, stomach, liver, esophageal and pancreatic cancer, as well as neuroendocrine tumors. Because a GIST originates within a distinct type of cell, an accurate diagnosis is vital to determining the most appropriate form of treatment.
At Moffitt Cancer Center, we offer a comprehensive program that incorporates a full range of diagnostics, treatment options, clinical research trials and support services for patients with GISTs. With a highly collaborative approach to patient care, we address all of our patients’ health care needs and concerns in a single, convenient location. Our multispecialty GIST team includes members of our Sarcoma Program and Gastrointestinal Oncology Program, as well as experts from many other disciplines, such as:
- Surgical oncologists
- Medical oncologists
- Radiation oncologists
- Interventional radiologists
- Endoscopy specialists
- Supportive care specialists
These knowledgeable and experienced specialists work closely together to plan and carry out an individualized treatment plan for each GIST patient that is reviewed weekly by a multispecialty tumor board.
In recognition of our commitment to providing cutting-edge cancer treatments, the National Cancer Institute has designated Moffitt the only Comprehensive Cancer Center based in Florida. By offering patients exciting new treatment opportunities through clinical trials, Moffitt has distinguished itself as a world-class cancer center. In many cases, our patients are among the first to benefit from advanced therapies that are not yet offered anywhere else. In sum, Moffitt’s GIST patients can feel confident that they have access to the most promising treatments available.