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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

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GIST is a fatal tumor disease. GIST, means gastrointestinal stromal tumor, is a disease that generally does not cause any pain. It remains undetected until patient feel swelling in organs and discomfort and raptures causing blood loss and anemia. This disease is a cancer of cells which form structure of stomach and intestine. This highly dangerous and rare GIST tumor can arise in stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum and esophagus. Some time it develops outside the intestinal tract in abdominal cavity. GIST tumor, an uncommon disease belongs to a class of disease or group of cancers called sarcomas. Sarcomas is a cancer that being in connective tissues that include fat, blood vessels, muscle, deep skin tissues, nerves, bones and cartilage. GIST is categorized as adult GIST, familial GIST, pediatric GIST and GISTs associated with NF1 (neurofibromatosis).

Connective tissue cells may grow in unmanageable manner. This is because of an abnormality in DNA. This specific change in DNA causes Kit to be switched on all the time. Kit, Tyrosine Kinase, is a cellular enzyme.  This cellular enzyme is responsible for sending growth and survival signals inside the cell. Uncontrollable mutant kit enzyme triggers the unmanageable growth of GIST tumor cells. Though if Kit is on, the cell proliferates and stays alive.

In early stage GISTs do not have physical symptoms. This is a disadvantage because there are no symptoms and by the time patient complaints about discomfort and doctor start treating, tumor becomes rather large. In later stage, commonly symptoms are vague abdominal pain, vomiting, and early feeling of fullness, abdominal bleeding and fatigue due to anemia. These specific symptoms may indicate some other diseases but without any fail people suffering from such problems must speak and consult with doctors. There are tests to diagnose GIST tumor, including inspection of organs, abdominal exploration, ultrasound, computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging. These tests are performed to check location and size of tumor and if cancer is spread outside gastrointestinal system. Small size tumor can be removed and the way is surgery. Traditional treatments, radiotherapy and chemotherapy do not work for GIST. Glivec is a drug often used treating GIST tumor. This is used to remove tumors that can not be completely removed with surgery. This is a Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor that blocks chemical that is required for cancer to grow. Glivec is very effective to treat GIST.

Life Raft group is working for GIST patients. This group helps such patients ensuring survival of them while maintaining the quality of their lives. There are major programs conducted by this group including research and treatment surveillance, information and support, patient outreach and assistance and advocacy. Emotional support and all necessary information are provided to patients and their families.

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  • Posted On June 5, 2012
  • Published articles 10

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