Country music star Toby Keith announced his battle with cancer over the weekend. He said he was diagnosed with stomach cancer last fall.
Dr. Ajay Jain, with OU Medical, said the cancer is relatively unusual seen in the United States. Most people don't find out about it until they start showing symptoms.
"This is typically a very complicated treatment algorithm in the United States," said Jain. "We tend to get them at a later stage and it's rare that surgery alone is enough to treat it."
Keith broke the news Sunday. He said he's spent the last six months receiving chemo, radiation, and surgery.
"It is very important if someone is diagnosed with gastric cancer to really have multi-disciplinary input and everyone's individualized treatment plan will be different," said Jain.
According to OU Health experts, this type of cancer can affect any part of the stomach, and in most of the world, it forms in the main part of the stomach.
However, in the U.S., it's more likely to affect the area where the esophagus meets the stomach.
"If it's caught at a t-1 stage, that is 90-plus percent curable," Jain said. "As it becomes more advanced, then the survival statistics will drop."
Keith said so far, so good and he needs time to breathe, recover and relax. While he's looking forward to spending this time with his family, he said he will see his fans sooner rather than later.
Keith also has a foundation that has been helping children with cancer since 2006. It helped provide no-cost housing for kids getting treatment in Oklahoma.