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Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI]

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General Information About Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors

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If cancer is found, the following tests may be done to study the cancer cells:

  • Immunohistochemistry study: A laboratory test in which a substance such as an antibody, dye, or radioisotope is added to a sample of cancer tissue to test for certain antigens. This type of study is used to tell the difference between different types of cancer.
  • Mitotic rate: A measure of how fast the cancer cells are dividing and growing. The mitotic rate is found by counting the number of cells dividing in a certain amount of cancer tissue.

Very small GISTs are common.

Sometimes GISTs are smaller than the eraser on top of a pencil. Tumors may be found during a procedure that is done for another reason, such as an x-ray or surgery. Some of these small tumors will not grow and cause symptoms or spread to the abdomen or other parts of the body. Doctors do not agree on whether these small tumors should be removed or whether they should be watched to see if they begin to grow.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • How quickly the cancer cells are growing and dividing.
  • The size of the tumor.
  • Where the tumor is in the body.
  • Whether the tumor can be completely removed by surgery.
  • Whether the tumor has spread to other parts of the body.
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WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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