Finding Purpose Amid Health Challenges
- Country singer Toby Keith, 62, has kept busy while on the mend to treat his stomach cancer. He revealed he’s worked on new projects while battling cancer, including a new album and music video, which helped his emotional well-being remain positive.
- Dr. Dana Chase, gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Health, says emotional health and good quality of life are associated with better survival and outcomes among patients. She encourages cancer patients to prioritize their emotional health for this reason.
- Keith was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2021. According to the National Cancer Institute, stomach or gastric cancer begins in the cells lining the stomach.
- Part of Keith’s treatment included chemotherapy, and while we do not know the exact type of chemo he’s receiving, chemotherapy does come with side effects, which may include nausea, hair loss, or weight changes. Observant fans noticed his weight loss amid cancer treatment.
Beloved country singer Toby Keith, 62, suggests he’s not slowing down any positive momentum he’s gained throughout the summer and Fall despite his ongoing stomach cancer battle. On the heels of receiving a Country Icon award for his decades of music contributions and benevolence behind the scenes, the “Red Solo Cup” singer continues to prime himself for a full-time return with new projects, including a new album.
View this post on InstagramRead More“Toby may be your 2023 People’s Choice Country Icon, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down,” Keith wrote in an Instagram caption while promoting an album he wrote entirely by himself, appropriately called “100% Songwriter.”
Keith has been on the mend for several months while treating his stomach cancer. Despite his condition, the flurry of announcements proves he’s kept busy amid treatment. He released a new lyric video to “Don’t Let the Old Man In,” which is the song he performed at the People’s Choice Country Awards in September.
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The patriotic award-winning performer loves making music as it brings him immense joy. Focusing on the positive and what brings you emotional joy is helpful to anyone’s mental health and well-being. However, keeping your emotional health upbeat for cancer patients is extremely important and can aid your overall prognosis.
Helping You Manage Your Mental Health
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- Mental Health and Cancer: New Survey Shows Over a Third of Patients Aren’t Getting the Support They Need
- Mental Health: Understanding the Three Wellsprings of Vitality
Focusing on Joy and Support Rather Than the Cancer
By focusing on his music as he battled cancer, Keith maintained his emotional well-being and was filled with positivity. Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at UCLA Health, says that maintaining good emotional health and quality of life is associated with better survival and patient outcomes. She encourages cancer patients to prioritize their emotional health for this reason.
“So definitely working on your emotional health, your physical well-being, your social environment, your emotional well-being, definitely working on those things and making them better are important and can impact your survival,” Dr. Chase told SurvivorNet.
Dr. Chase suggests tapping into your support network, which includes loved ones like friends and family. It can also be a patient advocate or a support group – in-person or virtual that shares your cancer or disease.
Keith’s Courageous Cancer Journey
Keith has been battling stomach cancer since 2021. According to the National Cancer Institute, stomach or gastric cancer begins in the cells lining the stomach.
His treatment has involved chemotherapy and immunotherapy. Chemotherapy involves cancer-killing drugs given to patients orally or intravenously.
Immunotherapy is a cancer treatment method that uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer cells. We do not know what kind of chemo or immunotherapy he is undergoing for treatment at this time.
Earlier this summer, in an interview with the Oklahoman, “Basically, everything is in a real positive trend. You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare,” the country singer said of his cancer journey.
“You have good days and bad days, but it’s a little bit of a roller coaster, but I’m doing a lot better than I was around this time last year,” Keith told E News during a red-carpet interview.
Although Keith still has all the loveable attributes that’s made him special over the last three decades, observant fans have noticed he has lost some weight since his diagnosis. Body changes can be another side effect of cancer.
Psychologist Dr. Marianna Strongin shares with SurvivorNet some tips cancer patients can explore to help manage the emotional toll body changes can have during treatment.
She says cancer warriors should learn to take ownership of the part (or parts) of their body most impacted by cancer treatment. She adds although they may represent “fear and pain,” they also represent “strength and courage.”
Keith says he’s often relied on his faith to help him through the rigors of treatment.
“My faith…I’ve always rode with a prayer, and as long as I have him with me, I’m cool,” Keith added.
It’s commonplace for cancer patients to rely on their faith to help them remain in a positive headspace amid their journeys.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor
If you’re battling cancer or on the other side of it, and you’re struggling with your outlook on life, here are some questions you may consider asking your doctor to get the conversation started:
- What can I do if I’m struggling to be thankful for what I have in my life?
- Are there local resources for people wishing to improve their mental health?
- What else can I do to help reduce my stress level during my cancer journey?
- It’s difficult for me to find happiness and joy. How can I find help?