The health battle waged by country singer Toby Keith, who died Monday at the age of 62, is not one we hear a lot about.
Stomach cancer is still pretty rare when compared to other cancers, according to Dr. Mark Newberry with Summit Medical Group.
“Relatively uncommon, but becoming more common, and it is happening at younger ages. And there’s also some recent issue where it’s affecting women a little bit more than men at younger ages. But, again, that’s being investigated to determine why that would be,” Newberry said.
According to the American Cancer Society, the average age of those diagnosed with stomach cancer is still around 68. However, four out of every ten are now under 65.
Dr. Newberry says stomach cancer signs can be easy to miss.
“Abdominal pain, sometimes they’re getting full early when they eat, they may be losing weight,” Newberry said. “That reflects how many calories they’re eating.”
Symptoms which can be mistaken for other issues by the patient may result in them delaying a visit to a doctor.
“Unfortunately, surgery is often no longer an option because they’re typically more advanced,” he said.
Other symptoms include anemia and chronic ulcers.
As far as the prevention of stomach cancer, once again, it is not a good answer.
“If we’re talking truly gastric, there isn’t anything to recommend in terms of prevention,” Newberry said. “I mean, there are some lifestyle strategies. Smoking does increase the rates of gastric cancer, and actually, so does alcohol. But that’s about the extent of it. I don’t know that we’ve got a lot of preventive strategies.”
Dr. Newberry suggests anyone who suspects they might be suffering the symptoms of stomach cancer should see their doctor right away and let them suggest the next step.