Managing GIST. How you manage and treat your GIST is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of GIST you have, the type of mutation, the tumor location, the risk of recurrence, and whether or not you have metastatic disease. This section helps you better understand how and where to begin. You will find information about how GIST is diagnosed as well as descriptions of the different types of the disease. Available treatments for different stages of the disease will be detailed as will their possible side effects. In addition you’ll learn about some tests and procedures that may help your physician better understand and monitor your condition.
The following sections aid in managing GIST:
Determine Your Starting Point:
Each GIST patient is different. They have different stages of disease, different subtypes of GIST, different tolerability of drugs, different sizes and ages, and many other differences. It is important for you to understand how your situation is different from other patients. Individualizing treatment for each patient may prevent unnecessary treatment, reduce toxicities from treatment and improve outcomes.
Either during or before surgery, your doctors will obtain a small amount of tissue (a biopsy) for further testing. This tissue will help determine if your tumor is cancer, what type of cancer it is and, in the case of GIST, the risk of a recurrence after surgery.
Additional testing, usually done at specialty centers, can determine the type of GIST that you have. A mutational test is the key test to help in determining this. Other tests include specialized stains to determine, or rule out the possibility, of having a subtype of GIST known as pediatric-like GIST or SDH-deficient GIST. A mutational test can also give you important information about how you will respond to drugs, including dosage for Gleevec, the first line of drug treatment.
Next Step – Diagnosis
Learn more about managing GIST in these sections: