I saw this link on Twitter (I’m sorry I can’t remember who retweeted it from Gibson): Geezer Butler Says Ronnie James Dio Could Have Been Saved. My first thought was “oh bloody hell what’s this going to be?” – expecting either woo or religion. I was pleased to see it was neither; rather Geezer was referring to actual proper medical screening and intervention:
“All the doctors said if he had gone in [for a checkup] a year earlier or two years earlier, they could have treated him,” said Butler. “But by the time Ronnie was diagnosed, he had stage four cancer, which was inoperable. The doctor hinted that it was just a matter of time and there was nothing they could do.”
The thing about gastric cancer is that it really does suck. It usually is at a late stage when it presents, and consequently survival is generally poor. The thing about the colonoscopies the other band members had is that it wouldn’t have picked up a gastric cancer (or if it did, it’s like no colonoscope I’ve ever seen – and no wonder Appice couldn’t sit down after his ). A stool sample for faecal occult blood might have shown something. A gastroscopy might have, but according to the National Cancer Institute, “There is no standard or routine screening test for stomach cancer.” – And “Some studies show that screening tests for stomach cancer, such as upper endoscopy, would not result in a lower death rate. More research is needed to decide if it would be worthwhile to screen people in the United States who have a high risk for the disease.”
So in fact I don’t it likely that Dio’s refusal of a colonoscopy would have made any difference to his outcome.
Cancer sucks. Gastric cancer really sucks.