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Ronnie James Dio battling stomach cancer

On November 18, 2009, American heavy metal vocalist, songwriter, and rock icon extraordinaire Ronnie James Dio cancelled his band's European tour due to illness and hospitalization.  Less than a week later, after countless tests, the singer's wife, Wendy, announced to the public that Ronnie had been diagnosed with the early stages of stomach cancer.  Chemotherapy treatment began soon after, at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas.  Wendy reports that the singer has tolerated the treatment well, in a blog entry on December 10, entitled "Ronnie Aces 1st Chemo Treatment with Flying Colors."  The singer blogged his own holiday message on December 21, thanking friends and fans for "good wishes... prayers... support... tears and laughter... anger and rejoicing, and most of all the unwavering love."  Today, the singer is 67 years old. 

Ronnie James Dio is known for his temporary replacement of Ozzy Osbourne as the singer of Black Sabbath decades ago, as well as his more recent connection with former Black Sabbath band mates to form the band Heaven and Hell.  In his musical career, Dio has also performed with bands Elf, Rainbow, and Dio.  He is credited for popularizing the "devil horns" hand gesture in rock music.

The prognosis for stomach cancer varies widely, based on the type of cancer diagnosed, the precise location of the tumor, and the depth of the tumor.  Google Health reports that "tumors in the lower stomach are more often cured that those in the higher area -- gastric cardio or gastroesophageal junction.  The depth to which the tumor invades the stomach wall and whether lymph nodes are involved influence the chances of cure.  In circumstances in which the tumor has spread outside of the stomach, cure is not possible and treatment is directed toward improvement of symptoms."

Stomach cancer is uncommon in the United States, although it is more common in other areas of the world, particularly Japan.  Risk factors include:

A healthy, balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables may reduce your risk of developing stomach cancer, as well as not smoking.

For more information about the incidence of stomach cancer in Massachusetts: check out this report from the Massachusetts Division of Healthcare Finance and Policy.

For more information about Ronnie James Dio and his current battle to slay this dragon: visit his official website or look him up on Facebook.

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