Reaching Milestones Amid Cancer Has Added Meaning
- Country music singer Toby Keith, 62, is on the verge of reaching a major milestone amid his ongoing stomach cancer journey that began in 2021. He’s weeks away from his first big concert since his diagnosis.
- Part of Keith’s treatment includes chemotherapy. 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.
- The singer also has received immunotherapy, which is a form of cancer treatment that uses the body’s immune system to fight the cancer. This form of treatment may also have side effects but can be effective. The singer said his tumor has shrunk since starting cancer treatment.
- Experts like Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, told SurvivorNet that focusing on your emotional health is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better outcomes. This includes doing enjoyable activities – like making music – that bring you positive emotions, which aids your overall prognosis.
“Toby is back,” the award-winning singer wrote on social media.
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Keith has been undergoing cancer treatment for months, which helped lead him to this joyous occasion. Over the summer, he suggested his treatment was working, and by the Fall, he could return to touring. While undergoing treatment, Keith continued working on his music and charitable projects. Performing and making music provided the “American Soldier” singer an emotional boost, which undoubtedly helped motivate him during treatment.
Experts such as Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, previously told SurvivorNet that focusing on your emotional health benefits your overall prognosis.
“We know from good studies that emotional health is associated with survival, meaning better quality of life is associated with better outcomes,” Dr. Dana Chase, a gynecologic oncologist at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, previously told SurvivorNet.
“If that’s related to what activities you do that bring you joy, then you should try to do more of those activities,” Dr. Chase added.
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Shortly after tickets went on sale for Ketih’s return show in December in Las Vegas, they sold out. Keith was grateful to his supportive fans who have encouraged him with positive messages since he was diagnosed with cancer. Fans continued offering their support after word spread that Ketih’s return concerts sold out.
“Not surprised at all. I know it will be a stunning show,” Instagram user Linda Parker wrote.
Toby Keith fan Sheila Jennie chimed in by saying, “Wow! I got my concert ticket and was happy with what I got. Dec. 11th is my night for seeing Toby Keith in Vegas. The Greatest Country Music Singer, Toby Keith. As I see it!”
Expert Stomach Cancer Resources
- 5 Life Lessons We Learned From Mister Rogers, Who Died 18 Years Ago From Stomach Cancer
- Floss Today to Slash Your Chances of Stomach and Esophageal Cancer Tomorrow
- New Hope For Stomach Cancer: Immunotherapy Drug Opdivo Now Approved As a First Treatment
- Remembering Legendary Western Actor John Wayne, Who Passed of Stomach Cancer Over 40 Years Ago: The Importance of Clinical Trials
Keith’s Resilient Journey to Vegas
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. He’s since undergone treatment, which includes chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. This summer, he revealed he’s feeling pretty good and nearing the end of cancer treatments.
After his diagnosis, he stepped away from the big stage to focus on his health. After nearly two years of battling the disease, the “Red Solo Cup” singer recently revealed he’s “feeling pretty good” in an interview with Country Now.
“I’m about another eight weeks from my last scan. So, I expect next time I look for that tumor to be even less, and I’ve only got one that’s shown up,” Keith said.
“Basically, everything is in a real positive trend. You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare,” the country singer continued.
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.
Based on Keith’s comments and pop-up performances throughout the summer, the “Beer for My Horses” singer appears to be managing his treatments well. Side effects from chemotherapy and immunotherapy may include fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and loss of appetite.
WATCH: The side effects of immunotherapy.
“Depending upon the severity depends upon how we manage it. Some patients will get diarrhea, and we can give them treatments to calm down their diarrhea, and it lasts a couple of days,” Dr. Pavlick continued.
Although the spunk in Keith’s personality and his singing abilities haven’t been majorly impacted as of late, 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.
WATCH: Dealing with body image during cancer 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.”
“Research has found that when looking in the mirror, we are more likely to focus on the parts of our body we are dissatisfied with, which causes us to have a negative self-view and lower self-esteem. Therefore, I would like for you to first spend time gazing at the parts of your body you love, give them time, honor them, and then thank them,” Dr. Strongin said.
Dr. Strongin then suggests looking at the part or parts of your body impacted by the cancer or cancer treatment. She recommends creating a regular practice of accepting your body image because it helps you accept your cancer journey emotionally and physically.
For cancer patients and their families, reaching life’s milestones is a major accomplishment worth commemorating. For Keith, that means returning to performing live before an audience full of supportive fans who helped lift his spirits throughout his cancer journey.
Milestones don’t have to be a major award. It can be the birth of a child or grandchild, getting married, traveling on a dream vacation, reaching another birthday, or something else that means a lot to you. Most importantly, these milestones during or after a cancer battle tend to have a more significant meaning because, often, cancer patients gain a greater sense of gratitude toward their lives.