Can Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors Be Found Early?

Screening is testing for diseases like cancer in people who do not have any symptoms. Screening tests can find some types of cancer early, when treatment is most likely to be effective. But at this time, no effective screening tests have been found for rare tumors like gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs), so routine testing of people without any symptoms is not recommended.

Still, some GISTs may be found early by chance. Sometimes they are seen on an exam for another problem, like during colonoscopy to look for colon cancer. Rarely, a GIST may be seen when an imaging test, like a computed tomography (CT) scan or barium study, is done for another reason. GISTs may also be found incidentally (unexpectedly) during abdominal surgery for another problem.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team
Our team is made up of doctors and master’s-prepared nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: April 4, 2014 Last Revised: February 8, 2016

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