When you or someone close to you is diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumors, learning more about the disease can help. Not only can it prepare you for possible treatments and therapies, but it can also give you a better idea of how to cope during this difficult time. We’ve compiled this handy guide to help you do just that.
What are Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors?
Gastrointestinal stromal tumors occur in the walls of the intestinal tract. Often they start in the stomach or small intestines. Though many of these tumors are, in fact, cancerous, they aren’t always. Some may be benign, and they won’t grow farther or spread into other organs.
How Is it Treated?
There are a number of ways a gastrointestinal stromal tumor may be treated. Most commonly, surgery is recommended to remove the tumor or the section of the GI tract that is affected. Targeted therapy, chemotherapy, and radiation are also used to treat these tumors, though less often. Some patients may require multiple treatments depending on how far the cancer has spread.
What Is the Long-Term Outlook?
These types of tumors are rare, occurring in only about 4,000 Americans every year. Most patients diagnosed are 50 or older. As far as long-term survival goes, the cure rates for gastrointestinal stromal tumors are very high. About 76 percent of patients with these tumors survive at least five years after treatment. If the tumor has not spread, survival rate is even higher at 91 percent. When the cancer spreads to nearby tissues, the survival rate is 74 percent. Once the cancer spreads to distant areas of the body, the rate drops to 48 percent.
To learn more about gastrointestinal stromal tumors or to discuss treatment options if you’ve been recently diagnosed, schedule a consultation at Oncology SA today. Our expert oncologists can evaluate your case and recommend the best possible treatment regimen for your condition.