dave saffordWhat is your name?

David Safford

How long have you been living with GIST?

over 3.5 years

What was your first thought when you were diagnosed with GIST?

My gist was declared inoperable and incurable upon diagnosis due to widespread metastasis – so my first thought was what do I need to do to stay alive long enough for a cure to be found.


What do you do?

I am a product manager and sales executive in the software industry. I strive to work full time given the limitations of my disease.

How are you doing now?

I am in my second clinical trial after my tumors have progressed on Gleevec, Sutent and Stivarga.

In cycle 2 of a drug named Ponatinib and hope this will be the one that keeps my tumors from growing.

GIST is called a “rare” cancer, how do you feel about that term being applied to you?

I don’t like the term. Thousands of people get GIST every year.

GIST doesn’t make you rare…but what makes you unique?

GIST is unique because it does not respond to traditional chemotherapy or radiation so we are at the leading edge of molecularly targeted therapy. Advances in understanding and treatment of GIST cancer continue to pave the way for treatment pathways for numerous other cancer types.