GIST (Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor) Survival Rate

The GIST survival rate may be on the mind of a patient who has been diagnosed with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST). While it’s understandable that a GIST patient would want to learn as much as possible about his or her condition, including the pertinent survival statistics, this information must always be viewed within a proper context. The fact is, the GIST survival rate is derived from the collective experiences of a large group of people, all of whom have very different circumstances. As such, it cannot be meaningfully applied to any one patient. It’s important to keep in mind that due to unique individual characteristics, recent advances in medical science and other factors, any given patient can experience a better outcome than a general survival statistic might imply.

An additional caveat about the GIST survival rate is that it is inherently unreliable for several reasons:

  • GISTs are relatively uncommon, and low-volume hospitals and cancer centers that don’t see many GIST patients sometimes misclassify these cases as other types of cancer. This makes the available data pool relating to GISTs even smaller.
  • Like all survival rates, the GIST survival rate is calculated based on the experiences of patients who were treated several years ago, before the current standard of care was available. Therefore, cancer statistics are, by definition, outdated by the time they’re published.
  • Survival statistics do not account for other medical conditions; in other words, a cancer patient who is otherwise in excellent health may have a much better outcome than a survival statistic might suggest.

The takeaway here is that every GIST patient is different. While it can be a helpful benchmark for researchers and clinicians, the GIST survival rate is simply a number that describes the “average” experience of many patients. Significantly, approximately one-half of all patients will have outcomes that exceed the survival rate – and some will far exceed it – especially when treated at a high-volume cancer center like Moffitt. At Moffitt Cancer Center, we’re doing everything possible to help our patients beat the odds.

Recognized by the National Cancer Institute as a Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt is situated firmly at the forefront of cancer research. Through our robust clinical trial program, we are discovering new and better ways to treat cancer every single day. What’s more, every Moffitt patient is attended to by a multispecialty team of GIST experts that meets regularly to monitor and revise the treatment plan as appropriate. With this unique approach, we’ve proven that the general survival rate cannot predict what’s possible when a patient receives outstanding cancer treatment and support.

If you’d like to discuss the GIST survival rate – and how it applies to your unique situation – with an experienced oncologist specializing in GISTs, you can do so at Moffitt without a referral. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form.