Gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GISTs) are rare cancers. About 900 people in the UK are diagnosed with a GIST each year. They are most common in people aged between 50 and 60, and are rare in people younger than 40 years old.

GISTs belong to a group of cancers called soft tissue sarcomas. Sarcomas are cancers that develop in the supporting or connective tissues of the body such as muscle, fat, nerves, blood vessels, bone and cartilage.

Most GISTs begin in the stomach or small bowel, but they can occur anywhere along the length of the digestive tract. The digestive tract is the hollow tube that runs from the gullet (oesophagus) to the anus (back passage).

Other contact information

Service manager - Dylan Smiley (medicine) and Tally Lazarus (surgery)

Email: /

Clinical Nurse Specialists (CNS)

Simona Perriello
Tel: 020 3447 5023



Upper gastrointestinal cancer
University College Hospital
UCLH contact centre
Ground floor central
250 Euston Road
London NW1 2PG

Other referral information

To refer a patient please download the ‘Suspected Upper GI cancer’ form and send to:


Non-cancer referrals

Referrals to the service can be made via NHS e-Referral Service (formally Choose and Book referrals) or via paper referral.

Referral address

GI Services Division
UCLH Ground Floor West
250 Euston Road

We don't yet know what causes GISTs. Most people who have a GIST don't have a family history of the condition. But there are very rare cases where several family members have been diagnosed with a GIST.

GISTS often have no symptoms. Symptoms of a GIST vary depending on the size and location of the tumour.

They may include:

  • fatigue (tiredness and a feeling of weakness)
  • weight loss
  • tummy (abdominal) discomfort or pain
  • a painless lump in the abdomen
  • being sick (vomiting)
  • blood in the stools (bowel motions) or vomit
  • anaemia (low level of red blood cells)