Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor

When you come to Winship Cancer Institute for treatment of a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, you have a multidisciplinary team of experts dedicated to your well-being.

The best long term outcome for a patient with a Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) will be achieved with a comprehensive, coordinated approach by specialists at Winship Cancer Institute.

Your care team draws on Emory’s vast resources in surgical oncology, radiation therapy and medical oncology, to provide the newest, most effective practices and treatments for GIST.

Our multidisciplinary care teams include oncology surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists and advanced practice nurses with expertise in GIST. Our teams develop groundbreaking surgeries and treatments that produce better outcomes and are adopted by other leading cancer centers.

The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:

  • Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
  • Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
  • Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
  • Access to a nurse navigator to assist you through out the treatment process.
  • Access to support programs and groups for you and your caregivers.
  • Availability of new treatment options within our clinical trials program.

Most gastrointestinal stromal tumors form in the stomach and the small intestine. A smaller percentage of GISTs develop in other areas of the GI tract.

The stage of your disease indicates how much it has spread or metastisized. Early stage cancer is disease limited to the organ where the GIST initially developed. Late stage cancer indicates metastasis to other organs such as the liver or lining of the abdomen. Determining the stage of your cancer will affect your treatment plan. Your Winship care team may use one or more tests and procedures to determine the stage of your cancer including a biopsy and imaging tests.

For reliable, in-depth information about cancer symptoms, staging and diagnosis, visit CancerQuest, an educational and outreach program at Emory University. 

Visit CancerQuest

Surgery is potentially curative for primary GIST.

A surgeon’s approach to treating the cancer depends on many factors including the location of the GIST, the location of the tumor relative to blood supply to the organ and the patient’s overall medical condition. During surgery, any section of the GI tract impacted by GIST may be removed or resected.

Doctors at Winship have developed a minimally invasive procedure that uses both laparoscopy and endoscopy simultaneously, for tumors located in difficult areas of the stomach. In many cases, this procedure leads to complete and safe removal of the tumor and with fewer potential complications and less chances of long-term problems. View a video to learn more.

Targeted therapies: Targeted therapies are drugs that more selectively target cancer cells with fewer side effects. Targeted therapies are used in combination with surgery or alone as a treatment for GIST. In personalized medicine, doctors identify unique characteristics of tumors that make them vulnerable to known drugs so therapy can be tailored to an individual’s cancer. Depending on the stage of your disease, your treating physician may perform additional genetic testing of your tumor to help identify the best personalized treatment for your cancer. In addition to standard targeted therapies, participating in clinical trials maybe an option in certain cases. Clinical trials provide patients access to new medications that are being developed to treat GIST.

In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselorsnurse navigatorsdietitians and social service professionals.

 Consider talking with your doctor about participating in a clinical trial at Winship. Through these trials, you may have access to treatments that are not widely available.

Learn More About Clinical Trials

If you have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, we are ready to help you. Call us at 1 (888) 946-7447 or (404) 778-1900 to make an appointment or request an appointment online. Winship experts are available to provide a second opinion.

We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.

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Arif N. Ali MD, MS

  • Radiation Oncologist
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                                 Arif N. Ali MD, MS
Arif N. Ali MD, MS

Arif N. Ali MD, MS

  • Dr. Ali specializes in central nervous system and gastrointestinal cancers, intensity modulated radiation therapy and stereotactic radiosurgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3473

Wendy Baer MD

  • Oncology Psychiatrist
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                                 Wendy Baer MD
Wendy Baer MD

Wendy Baer MD

  • Dr. Baer helps patients and their families deal with the stress of receiving a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
  • Medical Director of Psychiatric Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP
Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

Edith Brutcher NP, ANP-BC, MSN, AOCNP

  • A chemotherapy infusion specialist and adult nurse practitioner, Ms. Brutcher's clinical specialties include gastrointestinal and aerodigestive cancers.
  • Adult Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Linda Byrd ADN, RN, CGRN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Linda Byrd ADN, RN, CGRN
Linda Byrd ADN, RN, CGRN

Linda Byrd ADN, RN, CGRN

  • Ms. Byrd assists patients being treated for breast, gastrointestinal and lung cancers at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital.
  • Oncology Nurse Navigator, Winship at Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7118

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS
Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

Kenneth Cardona MD, FACS

  • Dr. Cardona is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist who specializes in the management of complex gastrointestinal malignancies (such as stomach, pancreas, and liver cancers) and is an expert in the treatment of sarcomas.
  • Co-Chair Gastrointestinal Oncology Working Group, Emory University Hospital Midtown
  • (404) 686-3203

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Supportive Oncologist
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                                 Kimberly A. Curseen MD
Kimberly A. Curseen MD

Kimberly A. Curseen MD

  • Board certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care, Dr. Curseen is the primary provider for the Supportive Oncology Clinic at Winship.
  • Director of Supportive and Palliative Care Outpatient Services , Emory Healthcare
  • (404) 778-1900

Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

  • Genetic Counselor
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                                 Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC
Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

Fabienne Ehivet MS, CGC

Joan Giblin NP

  • Survivorship Program
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                                 Joan  Giblin NP
Joan Giblin NP

Joan Giblin NP

  • An experienced nurse practitioner specialist with extensive patient care involvement, Ms. Giblin facilitates continued good health and quality of life for cancer survivors.
  • Survivorship Program Director, Winship Cancer Institute
  • (404) 778-1900

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • Medical Oncologist
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                                 Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD
Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

Natalyn Hawk MD, PhD

  • As a member of both the Gastrointestinal Oncology working group and the Sarcoma working group, Dr. Hawk sees patients with either gastrointestinal or connective tissue malignancies.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Hematology and Oncology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Valerie Henderson MSW

  • Social Worker
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                                 Valerie Henderson MSW
Valerie Henderson MSW

Valerie Henderson MSW

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Nurse Navigator
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                                 Bonnie  Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN
Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

Bonnie Josaphs RN, BSN, OCN

  • Ms. Josaphs practices within gastrointestinal oncology including assisting colorectal, liver and pancreatic cancer patients.
  • Gastrointestinal Cancer Nurse Navigator, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Steven Keilin MD

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Steven  Keilin MD
Steven Keilin MD

Steven Keilin MD

  • An attending gastroenterologist with expertise in advanced endoscopy, Dr. Keilin works with Winship's GI teams to deliver top cancer care.
  • Associate Director, Advanced Endoscopy Fellowship Program, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

David Kooby MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 David Kooby MD
David Kooby MD

David Kooby MD

  • Dr. Kooby is involved in multicenter clinical research and is an international leader in minimally invasive pancreatic and liver surgery.
  • Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-3805

Colleen Lewis NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Colleen Lewis NP
Colleen Lewis NP

Colleen Lewis NP

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Shishir K. Maithel  MD, FACS
Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

Shishir K. Maithel MD, FACS

  • Dr. Maithel is a board certified surgeon and surgical oncologist with special interest in sarcoma and malignancies of the liver, bile ducts, pancreas, stomach, colon, and small intestine.
  • Associate Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-0210

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • Social Worker
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                                 Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C
Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

Beth Perlmutter MSSW, LCSW, OSW-C

  • At Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital, Ms. Perlmutter works with patients of all cancer types providing resource referrals and counseling services.
  • Social Worker, Outpatient Oncology, Emory Saint Joseph's Hospital
  • (678) 843-7826

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Physician Assistant
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                                 Kimberly Pizarek PA-C
Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

Kimberly Pizarek PA-C

  • Ms. Pizarek works with Dr. Maria Russell of the surgical oncology team to provide care for breast cancer, gastrointestinal, melanoma and sarcoma patients.
  • Physician Assistant , Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Nancy Reynics NP

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Nancy Reynics NP
Nancy Reynics NP

Nancy Reynics NP

  • Working with the surgical oncology team, Ms. Reynics coordinates care for breast cancer, gastrointestinal cancers, melanoma and sarcoma patients.
  • Nurse Practitioner, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Maria C. Russell MD
Maria C. Russell MD

Maria C. Russell MD

  • Dr. Russell's treats melanoma and metastatic melanoma, tumors of the liver, biliary tract, pancreas, spleen and gallbladder, metastatic tumors to the liver, tumors of the gastrointestinal tract, and neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-3203

Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

  • Surgeon
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                                 Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS
Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

Juan M. Sarmiento MD, FACS

  • Dr. Sarmiento, an expert in liver, biliary tract and pancreas surgery, is one of only a handful of surgeons with a commitment to hepatopancreatic biliary surgery.
  • Associate Professor, Division of General and GI Surgery, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Vinita Singh MD

  • Pain Management Specialist
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                                 Vinita Singh MD
Vinita Singh MD

Vinita Singh MD

  • Dr. Singh collaborates with medical oncologists to provide state-of-the-art therapies to cancer patients suffering from pain symptoms.
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 686-2410

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Charles A. Staley MD
Charles A. Staley MD

Charles A. Staley MD

  • Dr. Staley leads the surgical oncology team and as Chief Quality Officer works collaboratively with leadership on tracking and improving patient services and satisfaction as well as focusing on cancer outcomes at Winship.
  • Chief Quality Officer, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-0210

Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

  • Genetic Counselor
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                                 Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC
Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

Christine Stanislaw MS, CGC

  • Ms. Stanislaw provides genetic counseling, including risk assessment and test coordination, for individuals concerned about the possibility of hereditary cancer susceptibility.
  • Director of Genetic Counseling, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Gastroenterologist
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                                 Field F. Willingham MD, MPH
Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

Field F. Willingham MD, MPH

  • Dr. Willingham is a leading expert in interventional and therapeutic endoscopy, seeing patients for specialized procedures from the United States and abroad.
  • Director of Endoscopy, Division of Digestive Disease, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Surgical Oncologist
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                                 Joshua H. Winer MD
Joshua H. Winer MD

Joshua H. Winer MD

  • Dr. Winer's specialties include HIPEC, laparoscopic and robotic pancreas, liver, and gastric resections, and minimally invasive colon surgery.
  • Assistant Professor, Division of Surgical Oncology, Department of Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-8377

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Nurse Practitioner
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                                 Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN
Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

Melissa Woodstock FNP-C, MSN

  • Located at Winship Cancer Institute, Ms. Woodstock is a nurse practitioner serving the inpatient population with gastrointestinal cancers and outpatient population in medical oncology.
  • Family Nurse Practitioner, Department of Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
  • (404) 778-1900

Kei Yamada MD

  • Radiologist
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                                 Kei Yamada MD
Kei Yamada MD

Kei Yamada MD

  • Dr. Yamada is a board certified radiologist with subspecialty fellowship training in interventional radiology.
  • Assistant Professor, Interventional Radiology and Image-Guided Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
  • (404) 778-1900