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 learn they have 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 3,500 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.

Most people with a GIST, even those with disease that has spread, live for years after their diagnosis. The specific survival rate is the percentage of people who survive after the cancer is detected, excluding those who die from other diseases. The survival rate for people with a GIST depends on several factors, including specific biologic characteristics of the tumor and its risk of coming back after treatment. In addition, the pace of GIST treatment research has been relatively rapid in the past 15 years, particularly since the 2002 approval of the drug imatinib (Gleevec) that will be discussed in more detail in the Treatment Options section.

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, but the actual risk for a particular individual may differ. It is not possible to tell a person how long he or she will live with a GIST. Learn more about understanding statistics.

Source: American Cancer Society.

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