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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Patients and Treatment

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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor is a full form of GIST. This belongs to a group of cancers called soft tissue sarcomas. GIST can arise in stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, esophagus and sometimes it develops outside the intestinal tract in abdominal cavity. GIST belongs to a group of cancers called soft tissue sarcomas. This is a rare type of cancer. Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor can be categorized as adult GIST, familial GIST, pediatric GIST and GISTs associated with NF1 (neurofibromatosis).

Talk about adult GIST, it occurs mainly in adults. Wild-type GIST is a diagnosis of exclusion. Pediatric GIST has been considered to be a subset of adult GIST. Though there are differences between the both. The biology, the clinical course of the disease, the effectiveness of treatments is different in both type of gist. Even an adult gist team of doctors may not be optimal in case of pediatric gist treatment.  Familial gist can be found in patients who inherit a mutated gene from one of their parents. In case of familial gist, people have KIT or PDGFRA mutations in every cell in their body. Some patients have a familial form of pediatric GIST caused by mutations in one of the SDH genes. This very rare type of gist has affected dozens of families in the world. There are few experienced doctors for GIST treatment. Medical team for gist doctors cannot be replaced by anyone else. There are reasons. A gist doctor can understand the needs of GIST patients. Gist doctor can understand about treatment options, helps in managing side effects and monitoring considerations and taking decision what to do if initial treatment fails. Gleevec drug has sparked a huge interest in research for gist. This is because this drug is very effective and has fewer side effects unlike traditional chemotherapy.

There is a group working for gist patients with the mission to ensure survival of such patients while maintaining the quality of their lives. This is Life Raft Group. This group has devoted efforts for major programs areas of GIST patients. The areas are research and treatment surveillance, information and support, patient outreach and assistance, and advocacy.

This group has created a strategic plan to address GIST treatment resistance. It has an objective to identify the mechanisms of treatment resistance and the means to overcome them. Information and emotional support has been provided to gist patients and their families. Gist patients have been provided a real time consultation about treatment options. A very experienced and expert staff is available to have telephone consultation. Vital information is provided to patients through group’s monthly newsletter, websites, webcasts, internet-based chat facilities and local groups.

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  • Posted On May 14, 2012
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