Warren Chambers

Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) Patient Stories

Warren Chambers

In the fall of 2007, 50-year-old Warren Chambers experienced trouble swallowing after completing his normal morning workout routine. A visit to a nearby hospital emergency room the next day revealed a growth in his stomach.

Friends and colleagues in the medical field suggested Warren go to Fox Chase.

Not equipped to deal with a growth of this type and size, the doctors at the local hospital suggested Warren look at other facilities. He sought advice from his friends and colleagues in the medical field and made arrangements to get a biopsy at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.

Warren met with two Fox Chase physicians who specialize in treating patients with gastrointestinal cancers - James C. Watson, MD, a surgical oncologist and Margaret von Mehren, MD, a medical oncologist. After reviewing Warren's test results and medical history, the team met with him to discuss his diagnosis and treatment options.

Dr. Watson explained that Warren had a relatively rare cancer, called Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST). Although the tumor was about the size of a large cantaloupe and had spread to his liver, it had remarkably not caused Warren any pain or discomfort. Together, Dr. Watson and Dr. von Mehren developed a treatment plan that involved six months of a relatively new type of oral chemotherapy - designed to shrink the tumor - to be followed by surgery to remove the tumor.

"Due to the talents of Drs. Watson and von Mehren, I am here today."

The chemotherapy was successful, and at the end of six months the large tumor had shrunk to the size of a golf ball. In the fall of 2008, Warren was admitted to Fox Chase where Dr. Watson surgically removed the tumor without causing any significant damage to the surrounding stomach area and ablated (destroyed with radiofrequency-generated heat) the liver tumor. Following surgery, Warren enrolled in a clinical trial evaluating the effectiveness of Gleevec in preventing recurrence.

In the summer 2011, Warren experienced a small set-back. Doctors uncovered another small tumor and he returned to Fox Chase for a second procedure. In September 2011, Dr. Watson performed the delicate surgery to remove the tumor, which involved removing the upper and lower intestine and reconstructing Warren's colon. Luckily, the surgery was a success and credits his doctors for putting him on the road to recovery.

"I am living proof that Fox Chase Cancer Center is the best place to go when you have cancer."

Warren is incredibly grateful to the staff at Fox Chase for providing his care. "I am living proof that Fox Chase Cancer Center is the best place to go when you have cancer," shared Warren, "Because Fox Chase doctors specialize in cancer, they understand, and are aware of, the newest and best treatment options."