Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor - GIST: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 11/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

People with GIST may experience many different symptoms or signs. Sometimes, people with GIST do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not a tumor. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your doctor. GISTs are not usually found at an early stage because they often do not cause specific symptoms. When symptoms do occur, they may be vague and can include:

  • Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
  • A mass in the abdomen that you can feel with your hand
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool
  • Fatigue due to anemia (low red blood cell counts)

Your doctor will ask you questions about the symptoms you are experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If GIST is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of your medical care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.