A gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is a type of cancer that begins in the digestive system. GISTs happen most often in the stomach and small intestine.
A GIST is a growth of cells that’s thought to form from a special type of nerve cells. These special nerve cells are in the walls of the digestive organs. They play a part in the process that moves food through the body.
- The only known risk factors for gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) − older age and certain rare, inherited genetic syndromes – cannot be changed. There are no known lifestyle-related or environmental causes of GISTs, so at this time we do not know of any way to protect against these cancers.
- Belly (abdominal) discomfort or pain
- A lump or mass in the belly that you can feel
- Blood in stools or vomit
- Fatigue because of low red blood cell counts (anemia) caused by bleeding
- Feeling full after eating only a small amount (early satiety)
- Loss of appetite or weight loss