One of the best country singers out there is Toby Keith; a former oil worker and roughneck, Keith sings patriotic songs, seems like a fun guy, and avoids many of the controversies and degeneracies that plague other artists and celebrities, or at least seems to avoid such problems.
But now, sadly, he announced that he’s battling the scourge of stomach cancer since it was diagnosed months ago, posting about the battle with the disease on Instagram and saying:
“Last fall I was diagnosed with stomach cancer. I’ve spent the last 6 months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery. So far, so good. I need time to breathe, recover, and relax.
“I am looking forward to spending this time with my family. But I will see the fans sooner than later. I can’t wait. -T”
What makes Keith’s announcement of the battle he’s fighting with stomach cancer so astounding is that he is currently on tour, with his website announcing that he’ll be playing as soon as the 17th of June, meaning that despite stomach cancer and all that the fight against it entails he is still performing for fans and sharing his musical genius with the world.
Further, the dates provided for his concerts by the tour website show that he’ll be playing day after day for much of July, doubly impressive given his sixty year old age and the battle with stomach cancer.
He did, however, have to cancel his planned performance at the Ohio State Fair, with 10 WBSN reporting that:
Country music star Toby Keith has canceled his performance at the Ohio State Fair next month after revealing on Sunday that he has been battling cancer for several months.
[…]Keith was scheduled to perform at the Ohio State Fair on July 28. Those who have already purchased tickets from Ticketmaster will be automatically refunded.
State fair organizers say information about an alternate concert on July 28 is forthcoming.
The National Institutes of Health’s National Cancer Institute, describing the survival rate of people suffering from stomach cancer if it is localized, notes that:
Cancer stage at diagnosis, which refers to extent of a cancer in the body, determines treatment options and has a strong influence on the length of survival. In general, if the cancer is found only in the part of the body where it started it is localized (sometimes referred to as stage 1). If it has spread to a different part of the body, the stage is regional or distant. The earlier stomach cancer is caught, the better chance a person has of surviving five years after being diagnosed. For stomach cancer, 28.3% are diagnosed at the local stage. The 5-year relative survival for localized stomach cancer is 71.8%.
The general five year survival rate, however, according to the same source, is only 33.3%, so if Keith’s cancer was not localized that would decrease his chance of survival by nearly 40%.
The singer did not share the details of whether his cancer was localized or not on the Instagram post, but the “So far, so good” line could mean that it was and that he’s getting better. Time will tell.