Toby Keith plans fall tour amid 'positive' stomach cancer updates: 'I feel good'

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NORMAN, Okla. − Toby Keith is planning his return to the road a year after revealing his stomach cancer diagnosis.

"I'm feeling pretty good," Keith, 61, told The Oklahoman last month. "I'm about another eight weeks from my last scan. So I expect next time I look for that tumor to be even less − and I've only got one that's shown up.

"Basically, everything is in a real positive trend. You never know with cancer, so you have to prepare. But my goal is, I feel better; I've got more wind. And I'm thinking about bringing the band in and setting up, playing two or three days somewhere just to see if I can get through two hours.

"And if I do, (I'll) be out on the road this fall."

Toby Keith speaks after receiving the BMI Icon Award during the BMI’s 70th annual Country Awards at the BMI Music Row Headquarters in Nashville on Nov. 8, 2022.
Toby Keith speaks after receiving the BMI Icon Award during the BMI’s 70th annual Country Awards at the BMI Music Row Headquarters in Nashville on Nov. 8, 2022.

Keith made his comments June 2 during a pre-tournament gala for the Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic weekend.

The charity event raises money for the Toby Keith Foundation's OK Kids Korral, a cost-free home-away-from-home for children with cancer seeking treatment in Oklahoma City.

Three weeks after last year's fundraiser, Keith revealed that he had been battling stomach cancer since fall 2021 and had already spent six months undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

Toby Keith is undergoing chemo and immunotherapy

Toby Keith, left, shares the stage with Travis McIntyre during his Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, a denim- and diamonds-themed dinner and auction at Riverwind Casino, which raised funds for the Toby Keith Foundation's OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City.
Toby Keith, left, shares the stage with Travis McIntyre during his Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic, a denim- and diamonds-themed dinner and auction at Riverwind Casino, which raised funds for the Toby Keith Foundation's OK Kids Korral in Oklahoma City.

Keith, who turns 62 on July 8, said he is continuing with chemo, his tumor has shrunk by a third, and his blood tests have looked good.

The Oklahoma native, who was born in Clinton, grew up in Moore and lives in Norman, said he also is doing immunotherapy and working with a nutritionist.

"They put oxygen in your blood. They give you high doses of vitamin C and good vitamins and nutrient bag you up to where you feel better. And you can start trying to heal your body," he said.

"Now, they're trying to fight where the cancer backs up and says, 'Oh, you're fighting that tumor? We're gonna remorph and turn into this kind of cancer.' ... So while (the cancer cells) are in the bullpen regrouping, we're trying to kill 'em with something different."

Toby Keith reveals stomach cancer: Country singer tells fans he'll see them 'sooner than later'

Country hitmaker releases 'America' EP of patriotic hits

To mark Memorial Day and the Fourth of July, Keith has released a new EP titled "America," featuring six of his hits with patriotic themes, including "Courtesy of the Red, White And Blue (The Angry American)," "Should've Been A Cowboy" and "American Soldier."

"I enjoy being that guy," said Keith, recalling how he met a soldier at a XFL championship game. "He came over and he's about to cry. And he said, 'I saw you three times: once in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan. ... Just hearing your voice gives me goosebumps, hearing that real voice, because you are Captain America to us.' "

Toby Keith says 'I'm not going to change' even if the music industry has

The Songwriters Hall of Famer said he isn't writing as many songs as he used to these days, "because I have nowhere to go with it."

"You can get it ... streamed, and you've got your fans who'll play it. But as far as getting airplay, what we do and what I made my Hall of Fame living doing, they don't want that. So you're kind of wasting your time."

The artist said it's no fun writing new songs knowing he can't get them on country radio.

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"All those years of owning it, and being that guy where you just put it out and they'll automatically play it, well, none of us are that guy anymore. Even the new people don't seem to last as long: They come and go pretty quick because it's flavor-of-the-month stuff," Keith said.

"I've just never been that guy − and I'm not going to change and write that kind of stuff. ... But with all the songs we got, I could play four hours straight hits."

As long as his health continues to improve, Keith said he intends to take his hits back on the road soon.

"All I got to do is see if I can get through two or three nights of work and get a little break in this chemo, and we'll go back to work. I'm ready," he said. "That's living."

Contributing: Naledi Ushe, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on Oklahoman: Toby Keith shares stomach cancer recovery updates, fall tour plans