Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST: Statistics

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 12/2014

ON THIS PAGE: You will find information about how many people are diagnosed with this type of tumor each year and some general survival information. Remember, survival rates depend on several factors. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Each year, approximately 4,000 to 5,000 adults in the United States will be diagnosed with a GIST. Sixty percent (60%) of GISTs begin in the stomach, and 30% develop in the small intestine. The remaining types of GISTs mostly start in the rectum, colon, and esophagus.

The five-year survival rate is the percentage of people who survive at least five years after the cancer is found. The survival rate for people with a GIST depends on several factors, including specific biologic characteristics of the tumor, the type of treatment, and the risk of coming back after treatment. 

The overall five-year survival rate of people diagnosed with a malignant GIST is estimated to be 76%. The five-year survival rate for a tumor that has not spread from the organ where it started is 91%. If the cancer has spread to surrounding tissues or lymph nodes when it was first diagnosed, the five-year survival rate is 74%. If the cancer has spread to a distant part of the body when it was first diagnosed, the five-year survival rate is 48%.

Cancer survival statistics should be interpreted with caution. These estimates are based on data from thousands of people with this type of tumor in the United States each year, so the actual risk for a particular individual may be different. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with a GIST. Because the survival statistics are measured in five-year intervals, they may not represent advances made in the treatment or diagnosis of this cancer. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Source: American Cancer Society.

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