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Toby Keith’s Death has Raised Awareness Of Stomach Cancer Signs

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Toby Keith's Death has Raised Awareness Of Stomach Cancer Signs

(CTN News) – Toby Keith died Monday night at 62 after being diagnosed with stomach cancer more than two years ago.

On X, Keith announced in June 2022 that he’d already had chemo, radiation, and surgery since he was diagnosed in fall 2021.

According to Dr Suneel Kamath, a gastrointestinal oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the incidence is rising in younger people. This may be the result of increased levels of overweight and obesity as well as overuse of antibiotics during childhood, which can alter gut health.

Stomach cancer was the most common cancer death in the United States in the early 20th century. But the number of new cases has decreased steadily, about 1.5% yearly since 2005.

Stomach cancer is easier to treat if caught early. Unfortunately, many cases aren’t discovered early, partly because the symptoms are common.

Almost 11,000 Americans die each year from stomach cancer, which affects 27,000 people.

What is stomach cancer?

In the U.S., stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, makes up about 1.5% of all cancers diagnosed each year. It targets the organ that breaks down and digests food.

It usually starts in the stomach lining. Mayo Clinic says the most common form occurs at the junction of the stomach and esophagus in the United States. It can occur at the top, where the stomach meets the esophagus or in the main part of the stomach.

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What are the signs and symptoms of stomach cancer?

Symptoms of stomach cancer are often mistaken for other conditions, so it’s hard to detect it early.

Kamath says it’s important to pay attention to long-term changes.

“Thousands of people have these symptoms, but only millions have stomach cancer,” he said.

Also, think about changes from baseline,” Kamath said. “Have I had these symptoms before? Did I notice this problem last year?”

It’s all about the duration. “Everyone gets an upset stomach once in a while,” Kamath said. “But if you have the same symptoms for a month, that’s something that needs to be addressed.”

Here are some early symptoms:

  • Ongoing heartburn or indigestion

  • Feeling bloated after meals

  • Feeling full after only a few bites of food.

These symptoms can be caused by more advanced stomach cancer:

  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing

  • Persistent stomach pain

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Blood in stool (resulting in black stool)

  • Loss of appetite

  • Unexplained weight loss

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What causes stomach cancer?

Some factors tend to be associated with stomach cancer, but there aren’t always clear ones. These include:

  • Processed meat, smoked and salted foods

  • Low-fiber, low-vegetable diet

  • Drinking alcohol

  • Smoking tobacco

  • Obesity or overweight.

The lifetime risk of stomach cancer is higher for men, about one in 101, compared to one in 155 for women.

How treatable is stomach cancer?

It’s easier to treat stomach cancer if you catch it early. Unfortunately, most cases aren’t caught before it’s advanced and has grown through the stomach wall or spread to other body parts.

Chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery are all part of the treatment.

Among different stages of stomach cancer, the 5-year relative survival rates are:

  • For stomach cancer that hasn’t spread

  • For cancer that spreads beyond the stomach to nearby lymph nodes or organs, 35%

  • There’s a 7% chance of metastatic stomach cancer

Is stomach cancer on the decline?

Researchers aren’t sure why, but two factors likely contributed:

  • Now that people have better access to refrigeration, they eat less salted and smoked food.

  • Fewer people are infected with Helicobacter pylori (H pylori), which causes stomach cancer. If you get the bacteria for long enough, it can cause inflammation that can lead to stomach cancer. But most people don’t get it.

Stomach cancer treatment

Individuals’ treatment options will depend on their stage and other factors, including surgery, chemo, radiation, immunotherapy, or targeted drugs.

Keith announced in June 2022 that he’d been undergoing stomach cancer treatment since the previous fall. He wrote at the time that he’d undergone surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation.

At the moment, there’s no routine way to detect stomach cancer in people at average risk, but people at higher risk can get screened with upper endoscopy, which involves inserting a thin tube into their mouths and looking for abnormal stomach tissue.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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