Staying Hopeful Throughout Cancer Treatment
- Country star Toby Keith, 61, is looking to resume life as normal after announcing he was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall.
- Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, is more likely to form in the gastroesophageal junction – the area where the long tube (esophagus) that carries food you swallow meets the stomach.
- We love how Keith is maintaining optimism throughout his cancer fight. Another critical thing for anyone battling a disease is the feeling that they are being supported and loved during this difficult experience.
The country music icon and father of three, who was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from a cancer non-profit called SabesWings, has admitted this month that he needs time to rest but is looking forward to the future.Read More
— CMT Hot 20 Countdown (@cmtHot20) November 19, 2022
Toby Keith’s Cancer Battle
Toby Keith told fans about his stomach cancer diagnosis in early June of this year.
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer,” Keith posted to Instagram. “I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait.”
After releasing his first album in five years last October, Peso In My Pocket, Keith had been on tour. But now any upcoming tour dates have been removed from his website.
Despite admitting he still needs to rest, Keith was able to perform for an hour at Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in Lexington, Kentucky, in early November.
Still, Keith has made a point to thank the people who have stepped up to support him during this difficult time.
“Thank you for all your love and support,” he wrote in another post from June. “I have the best fans in the world.”
We don’t know too many specific details about Keith’s ongoing cancer battle, but the SurvivorNet community is wishing him all the best as he continues to navigate the road ahead.
Understanding Stomach Cancer
Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, can affect any part of the stomach. Interestingly enough, stomach cancers usually develop in the main part of the stomach (stomach body) for most of the world, according to the Mayo Clinic.
In the United States, however, stomach cancer is more likely to form in the gastroesophageal junction – the area where the long tube (esophagus) that carries food you swallow meets the stomach. Factors that increase your risk of having stomach cancer include:
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
- A diet high in salty and smoked foods
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
- Family history of stomach cancer
- Infection with Helicobacter pylori
- Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
- Stomach polyps
Treatment options for stomach cancer can include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted drug therapy, and immunotherapy. The decision-making process for choosing a treatment path can vary depending on a few factors, including:
- The cancer’s location
- The stage of the cancer
- How aggressive the cancer is
- Your overall health
- Your treatment preferences
Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer are not exclusive to the disease, but they may include: Difficulty swallowing, feeling bloated, feeling full, heartburn, indigestion, nausea, stomach pain, unintentional weight loss, and vomiting.
We love how Keith is maintaining optimism throughout his cancer fight. Another critical thing for anyone battling a disease is the feeling that they are being supported and loved during this difficult experience.
Experts have told SurvivorNet that going through cancer while feeling supported can actually make people feel even more gratitude for things they may have taken advantage of in the past. This gratitude can be towards loved ones, special memories, or milestones they hope to achieve after treatment.
“The patients who do well with cancer live life with that kind of gratitude, but in terms of everything,” Dr. Zuri Murrell, director of the Cedars-Sinai Colorectal Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet. “They’re grateful, not for cancer, but they’re grateful for an opportunity to know that life is finite, but they live life like ‘I love you’ to their husband, to their wife, to their kids, knowing that they appreciate it for one of the first times ever because they know it may not be forever that they get to do this.”
Cancer Survivors Open Up About Their Disease
Although it clearly might be difficult for cancer patients and survivors to speak openly about their disease, survivors have told SurvivorNet that talking through their diagnosis has been important during recovery and helps people feel supported. Longtime TV news host and breast cancer survivor Joan Lunden told SurvivorNet that it may be difficult to discuss cancer and how it’s affected the body, but no one should be ashamed.
“It’s uncomfortable. It’s scary, and it’s embarrassing,” Lunden says. “I needed to throw it all out there, no holds barred. This is all the stuff that happens to us, and these are some of the things you can do about it.”
Some family members of cancer patients have also talked about how helpful therapy is to talk through emotions. Camila Legaspi lost her mother to breast cancer and explained to SurvivorNet why therapy saved her life while coping with her loss.
“The reality is when you lose someone, it’s really, really, really hard. And it’s totally OK to talk to someone, and I’m so happy that I talked to my therapist,” Legaspi said.
Contributing: SurvivorNet Staff