Country music star Toby Keith dropped a bombshell this week, sharing with his fans on social media that he is in treatment for stomach cancer.
The 60 year old singer says he has been battling this disease for six months, receiving chemo, radiation and therapy beginning last fall.
Stomach cancers tend to develop slowly, over many years according to the American Cancer Society. Also referred to as gastric cancer, it occurs when cells in the stomach are triggered to grow out of control. Stomach cancers which are localized, meaning the cancer has not spread outside the stomach, has a 70% survival rate.
It is not known at what stage Keith’s cancer was diagnosed. By his own admission, he is responding with aggressive treatment.
Surgery to remove the cancer offers the best chance of long term survival. The singer revealed in addition to surgery he underwent chemo and radiation. In some cases, chemo and radiation are used to shrink tumors before surgery. But surgery can also be used as a first line treatment.
Newer targeted therapies and immunotherapies show some success against stomach cancers. Keith has not been specific about the treatment he underwent.
After making the shocking announcement in his June 12 Instagram post, the singer said, “So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover and relax.” He went on to tell fans he will see them ‘sooner rather than later’.
Known for hits song ‘Red Solo Cup’ the anthem ‘Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue’ and ‘I Wanna Talk About Me’, he is also credited with 32 #1 singles.
As of yet, there are no concert cancelations mentioned on his official website. His next show is schedule for June 17 in Illinois.
Approximately 26,380 new cases of stomach cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year. Cases are slightly more common in men. Symptoms include:
- Difficulty swallowing
- Stomach pain
- Unintentional weight loss
The Oklahoma native has a long history advocating for cancer patients. In 2006 he founded the Toby Keith Foundation to support children with cancer.
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