At the age of 62, country musician Toby Keith passed away on Monday night. He had been afflicted with stomach cancer for more than two years prior to his death.
Keith made the announcement on X in June 2022 that he had been diagnosed with cancer in the fall of 2021 and that he had already undergone chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery.
After that, in June of last year, he reported to The Oklahoman newspaper, which is based in Oklahoma City, that his tumor had decreased by a third and that he was not stopping his chemotherapy treatment. According to him, he also received immunotherapy, which is a form of treatment that assists the immune system in eliminating cancer cells.
Toby Keith’s death has sparked renewed calls from doctors to pay attention to signs of stomach cancer, which include heartburn, acid reflux, anemia, nausea, ulcers, pain after eating, sudden weight loss or feeling full after eating small amounts. https://t.co/BAsBXMWBHl
— NBC News (@NBCNews) February 6, 2024
In the wake of his passing, medical professionals have redoubled their efforts to raise awareness about the symptoms of stomach cancer. These symptoms include heartburn, acid reflux, anemia, nausea, ulcers, pain after eating, unexpected weight loss, or the sensation of being full after eating only a tiny quantity.
There are a lot of these items that are not particularly harmful. According to Dr. Fabian Johnston, who is the division chief of gastrointestinal oncology at Johns Hopkins Medicine, “But of course, when you have cancer, that is how it gets you.”
According to Johnston, both patients and medical professionals may have a tendency to disregard symptoms such as acid reflux as being innocuous, which can cause a delay in diagnosis. According to him, by the time symptoms develop, many people already have advanced stages of the disease.
The typical age at which a diagnosis is made is 68 years old, and men have a little higher risk.
“This does not imply that people are going to die in the near future. It merely indicates that the resources that we have available to treat them are relatively restricted,” he explained.
Although people are doing very well in comparison to how they were 15 years ago, we are not even close to being at the same level as, for example, breast cancer, where the vast majority of patients are cured through surgical procedures, chemotherapy, and other such treatments.
Adenocarcinomas, which originate in the innermost lining of the stomach, are responsible for up to 95% of all stomach cancers that occur in the United States. There is a possibility that the cancer will move to the lymph nodes, the body of the stomach, or the wall of the stomach from there.
As stated by Dr. Rutika Mehta, a medical oncologist working in the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt disease Center in Tampa, Florida, patients whose disease has not spread typically undergo or receive chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or a combination of these treatment methods.
The following is an excerpt from an email that Mehta sent out: “In more advanced cases, we are not yet at a point where we can offer patients a ‘cure.'” On the other hand, she mentioned that immunotherapy and chemotherapy could be able to help lengthen life.
Furthermore, medical professionals are becoming more adept at matching patients with medicines that specifically target proteins that are related with stomach tumors. According to one example, certain types of stomach cancer express a gene known as HER2, which has also been associated with breast cancer.
Drugs that are effective in treating HER2 breast cancer also have some degree of efficacy in treating HER2 gastric cancer. So now we are able to administer those medications to patients who have stomach cancer, which will significantly increase the benefits they receive from treatment,” Schlechter explained.
Despite the fact that the results of the condition are “generally poor,” he stated that they are “much better than they used to be.”