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About GIST

About GIST

GIST stands for Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumour. GIST is a soft tissue sarcoma that can occur anywhere along the gastrointestinal tract. Soft tissue sarcomas are a rare form of cancer and comprise about 1% of all cancers. GIST develops in the stroma, which is the supporting connective tissue of the stomach and intestines.

Several hundred Canadians are diagnosed with GIST each year. GIST strikes randomly; there are no known risk factors and no ways to prevent it. However, over the last 20 years, research discoveries have advanced the medical community’s understanding of this disease and have also greatly improved its treatment.

In most cases, GIST is treated by surgery and drug therapy. Five drugs have been approved in Canada for GIST: GLEEVEC®(imatinib), SUTENT®(sunitinib), STIVARGA®(regorafenib), AYVAKIT™ (avapritinib), and QINLOCK™ (ripretinib).

GIST Topics

The information provided in the links below has been prepared by The Life Raft Group,  based on over 20 years of helping those with GIST.

GIST Patient Stories

These patient and caregiver stories provide not only valuable disease specific information, but also hope and inspiration for those fighting this rare form of cancer.

What it feels like: Living with GIST

Written by Emma Jones
Maureen went from feeling completely healthy to hearing a doctor tell her that she had gastrointestinal stromal tumours, a rare cancer that affects 1 in 100,000 people. Read More

What it feels like: Gastrointestinal stromal tumour (GIST)

Written by Emma Jones
Hazel MacLeod wasn’t quite sure what was wrong when she fainted in the bathroom of her church one day after service. Read More


Tips and tools to help navigate treatment, acquire important information from the healthcare team, and advocate for the best care

GIST Presentations

These presentations are a broad collection of GIST webcasts, videos and slides presented by medical specialists with expertise in GIST. They are meant for audiences of GIST patient and caregivers.

Each presentation has been grouped under one of following seven topics:

Managing Side Effects

Effects of nutrition, Managing Side Effects, Living with GIST, and more.


An Introduction to the Biology, Mutational Testing, Why do we need to advocate for it?

Medical Management

Treatment of GIST Beyond Imatinib, Managing Progression of Metastatic GIST and more.

Surgical Management

Role of Surgery in all stages of GIST, and more.

Interventional Radiology

Radiofrequency Ablation in Treating GIST, Role of Interventional Radiology, and more.


A Pathologist’s Point of View, GIST: How to Understand your Pathology Report, and more.


Medical and Research Updates 2022, The Future Research Directions, The Science Behind the Discovery of Drugs for GIST, and more.

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