Overview of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Treatment India

A gastrointestinal stromal tumor is a type of cancer that occurs in the digestive system. Gastrointestinal stromal tumors are most commonly present in the stomach and small intestine. GIST grows slowly and for this reason in the initial stage of cancer, the GIST usually causes no symptoms. But when the cancer is in a more aggressive stage, it shows signs and symptoms. GIST is more commonly present in adults but it can present at any age. In children, GIST is rare. The cause of GIST is unknown most of the time but it is said it tends to spread through generations. Treatments are different at different stages of the cancer and doctors usually plan treatment according to the nature of cancer cells and the extent of cancer cells or spread in the area. However, the treatment has some side effects and it can lower the quality of life of the patient. So support during the treatment and counseling with family and patient is an important part of the care of the patient. In some cases, after the treatment, GIST can return and for this reason, treatment continues even after the cure of the cancer. 

Types of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Treatment India

There are many types of treatment of GIST according to the stage and nature of cancer cells. These are:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Target drug therapy
  • Surgery
  • Ablation therapy


Chemotherapy is a treatment option that kills the cancer cells by limiting their growth. Chemotherapy is often used to treat aggressive cancers. This is not usually used in the treatment of GIST. But if target drug therapy is not responding, chemotherapy treatment is used.

Radiation Therapy

Radiation therapy uses strong X-rays to kill the cancer cells. Radiation therapy is used in some specific cases such as bleeding in the stomach or intestine or when it is not possible to remove a tumor with surgery.


Surgery is the first treatment option for GIST. In this treatment, the tumor is removed from the stomach or intestine. The surgeon may remove the complete or part of the affected organ according to the size, location, and extent of the tumor. Surgery is particularly effective when the tumor is small and has not spread to other parts of the body.

Targeted Therapy

Targeted therapy involves using drugs that specifically target the proteins and stop their activity which helps in slowing down the growth of the tumor. Target therapy can be used in combination with surgery to prevent the recurrence of tumors.

Ablation Therapy

Ablation therapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to destroy abnormal tissue such as tumors. This can be done without the need for traditional surgery. There are different techniques for ablation which include:
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA): This method uses high-frequency electrical currents to heat and destroy tumor cells.
Microwave Ablation: This technique uses microwave energy to heat and destroy the tumor.
Cryoablation: In this approach, extreme cold is used to freeze and destroy the abnormal tissue.
Laser Ablation: A laser is used to deliver intense heat to the tumor and causes it to shrink and die.

Diagnosis of Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor Treatment India

Some of the methods that are used in the diagnosis of GIST are:

Clinical Evaluation

The doctor takes the medical history of a patient and then performs a physical examination of the patient to make a diagnosis of the patient.

Imaging Studies

Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: A CT scan provides a detailed picture of the abdominal area and also tells about the size, location, and shape of the tumor.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): MRI uses magnetic and radio waves to create detailed pictures. It can help to assess the extent of a tumor and its extent to nearby structures.
Endoscopy: If the tumor is suspected to be present in the food pipe, stomach, or upper intestines, an endoscopy technique is performed to directly visualize the tumor and take samples of tissue.
Ultrasound: Ultrasound can provide images of the tumor and surrounding tissues by using sound waves. It is often used to assess the shape and size of a tumor.


A biopsy is a diagnostic method that confirms the presence of tumor cells in the stomach or intestine. In this test, a tissue sample is obtained during endoscopy and then tested under laboratory conditions to check if the GIST is the diagnosis. Biopsy can also tell about the nature of tumor cells and help in treatment planning.

Molecular Testing

Molecular testing is performed to find out any abnormal or diseased gene present. Molecular testing can identify specific genetic changes that are associated with GISTs.

Cost of GIST treatment in India

The cost of GIST treatment in India ranges from 6,000 USD to 8,400 USD. The cost can vary according to the condition of each patient. The cost can also vary according to the stage of cancer and the response to treatments.

Treatment Costs in India Min in USD Max in USD
Chemotherapy 500 USD 700 USD per session
Radiation Therapy 2100 USD 6211 USD
Surgery 3456 USD 7865 USD
Others 6400 USD 8400 USD

Symptoms and Risk factors

Some of the symptoms of gastrointestinal stromal tumors are:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Internal bleeding
  • Low level of blood
  • Mass or lump in stomach
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Changes in bowel habits
  • Fatigue
  • Pale skin 
  • Dark, tarry stools
  • Weakness
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Frequent urination
  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Swelling in the abdominal area

Risk Factors for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

Some of the risk factors for GIST are as follows:


GISTs can occur at any age but they more commonly occur in adults, particularly in those over the age of 40.


GISTs occur more frequently in men than in women. So men are at greater risk of GIST than women.


Certain genetic changes are linked to the development of GISTs. These changes can pass from one generation to another or can occur in any lifetime of a person.

Family History

There is a positive correlation between the positive family history of GIST and the development of GIST in a person. However, it occurs only in some people.

Genetic disorder

Individuals with some specific genetic disorder in which there is growth of tumors along nerves of the digestive system have an increased risk of developing GISTs.

Past Radiation Exposure

Any past treatment of radiation therapy can increase the risk of gastrointestinal stromal tumors. The risk is higher if radiation therapy is applied to the abdominal area.

Certain Syndromes

Some of the types of syndromes can increase the risk of tumors in the digestive system.

Treatment Costs for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

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