Country singer Toby Keith lost his stomach cancer battle. What’s your risk?
Nearly two years after country singer Toby Keith announced his stomach cancer diagnosis, a new statement shares the unfortunate news that the country star has lost his battle. Keith received chemotherapy, radiation and surgery – all while keeping up with performances.
— Toby Keith (@tobykeith) February 6, 2024
The news of the “Red Solo Cup” singer’s death may have you questioning your own risk. According to the American Cancer Society, there are 26,890 new diagnoses each year. People ages 50 to 70 years old are most at risk. Keith passed away at age 62.
Dr. John Brems, surgical director at the Center for Advanced Liver and Pancreatic Cancer at Advocate Health Care, says, “Stomach cancer is primarily related to three things: smoking, obesity and diet – all of which irritate the stomach, increasing your likelihood of getting this cancer.”
He suggests the following lifestyle changes:
- Stop smoking – Like most cancers, there is a high correlation between smoking and stomach cancer.
- Lose weight – Being overweight can increase reflux. When experiencing reflux, you may be prescribed medications like Protonix. This is a proton pump inhibitor, so it doesn’t really get rid of your reflux, but it gets rid of the symptoms.
- Improve diet – Cut back on smoked and salty foods.
Signs of stomach cancer:
- Reflux and heartburn if you are overweight
- Vomiting or coughing up blood
- Drastic weight loss
If any of these symptoms begin to occur, make an appointment with a doctor and set up an endoscopic evaluation.
“It is important to remember to listen to your body, know yourself and if things don’t seem right to not just ignore the symptoms. You need to see somebody since many cancers, if they are detected early, are curable,” says Dr. Brems.
If you or a family member are diagnosed with stomach cancer, Dr. Brems gives some advice and encouragement. “We can do a molecular analysis on the tumors and evaluate which gene is causing the cancer and figure out where the mutation is,” he explains. “Now with immunotherapy treatments, we have a much higher success rate and a much better chance to cure the cancer,” he says.
If you are at risk for this cancer or experiencing any of these symptoms, reach out to your doctor.
Do you have symptoms of acid reflux? Take a free online quiz.
About the Author
health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.