S4E46: What You Need to Know about Stomach Cancer – Part 1

Learn all about stomach cancer risk factors, symptoms & diagnosis

Stomach cancer is the 5th most common cancer in the world, and anyone can get it. This is part one of a two-part review where we talk about risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, staging, and survival estimates. We also highlight the life and poetry of Toby Keith who died this month, 28 months after his stomach cancer diagnosis.

In this Episode:

  • 00:00 – Our Sponsor: Tree of Life Memorials and Digital & Stone
  • 00:20 – Intro
  • 05:59 – Remembering Toby Keith
  • 17:16 – How to make Toby’s Fried Bologna Sandwich
  • 18:19 – All About Stomach Cancer, Part 1: risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis, staging, and survival estimates
  • 47:21 – Don’t Let the Old Man In
  • 52:47 – Outro
Singer, actor and songwriter Toby Keith

Remembering Toby Keith

In the Fall of 2021 Toby Keith, country music star and Oklahoma Native, was diagnosed with stomach cancer, 28 months later he died. He was treated with surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy, and radiation treatments that together take a toll on a body. His last TV appearance was in 2023, but he continued to play at Hollywood Corners, a local outdoor venue in Norman, Oklahoma during the July 4th weekend of 2023, and a final 3 shows in Vegas a few months before his death.

What Is Stomach Cancer?

Mr. 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. Dr. Matzo shares about this disease and what to expect if diagnosed with it.

Endoscopy combined with CT scans or other imaging is how the journey starts for a diagnosis.

To understand stomach cancer and how it is staged, it helps to visualize the structure. Refer to the image below for Dr. Matzo’s description. The stomach wall is made up of five layers of tissue and muscle. Knowing about these layers can help you understand the stage of your cancer.

a diagram showing the layers of the stomach wall
Layers of the stomach wall. The wall of the stomach is made up of the mucosa (innermost layer), submucosa, muscle layer, subserosa, and serosa (outermost layer). The stomach is an organ in the upper abdomen.
(Credit: © Terese Winslow, source: Cancer.gov)
A diagram of the stages of stomach cancer
Cancer is staged by how far the cancer cells how penetrated into tissues, and how far they have traveled, such as into lymph nodes or distant sites. (Source: St John’s Cancer Center)

Don’t Let the Old Man In

Charlie told us a little about how Toby Keith’s much-loved song came to be and read the lyrics to us. You can hear Toby sing it in a music video for “The Mule” starring Clint Eastwood. It was a conversation with Clint Eastwood that inspired the song! Below is the last TV appearance Toby made, to sing his song for The People’s Choice Awards.

Toby Keith signing Don’t Let the Old Man In, in his last TV appearance before his death from stomach cancer

Recipe of the Week:

In honor of Toby Keith, we bring his favorite fried bologna sandwich, featured in his restaurant I Love This Bar & Grill. Keith’s version required all-beef bologna, which you cut yourself, topped with mustard, mayo, and barbecue sauce. You could make this sandwich on slider rolls and take them to your next funeral lunch as a tribute to Toby.

Learn how to make a fried bologna sandwich, and get a peek at Toby’s restaurant in Oklahoma City.



Our Sponsors

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This episode was sponsored by The Tree of Life Memorials and Digital & Stone – a new platform to create digital memorials, environmental legacies and fine art monuments. Share the Stories, preserve the memories, conserve the land, connect the Souls…. because Love never dies. Find out more at https://www.digitalandstone.com/

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