Rocker Ronnie James Dio Dies. Or Not?

Yes, heavy metal rock legend Ronnie James Dio is dead, although there have been conflicting reports about this all weekend. The 67 year old heavy rocker, who fronted bands like Black Sabbath, Rainbow as well as his own group Dio, has been battling stomach cancer since November. Aside from his powerful voice, Dio is credited with  popularizing the “devil horns” hand gesture in metal culture. Yesterday reports surfaced that Dio had died, however his wife (and long-time manager) Wendy Dio announced that although Ronnie was not doing well, he was still alive in a Dallas hospital. That changed today when the following statement was posted on his official website:

Today my heart is broken, Ronnie passed away at 7:45am 16th May. Many, many friends and family were able to say their private good-byes before he peacefully passed away. Ronnie knew how much he was loved by all. We so appreciate the love and support that you have all given us. Please give us a few days of privacy to deal with this terrible loss. Please know he loved you all and his music will live on forever. – Wendy Dio

What is stomach cancer?

Stomach cancer, also called gastric cancer, is a malignant tumor in the stomach. It usually begins in cells in the inner layer (mucosa) of the stomach. Over time, the cancer may invade more deeply into the stomach wall. A stomach tumor can grow through the stomach’s outer layer into nearby organs, such as the liver, pancreas, esophagus, or intestine. Ninety to ninety-five percent of malignant stomach cancers are of a type called adenocarcinoma. This means that the tumor originates from the cells which make up the mucosa of the stomach.

What are the risk factors for stomach cancer?

  • Infection of the stomach with Helicobacter pylori  (a bacterium believed to be the cause of most peptic ulcer disease)
  • Chronic stomach inflammation
  • Male sex- especially men of Asian-Pacific, African-American, or Hispanic descent
  • Age over 65 years old
  • History of eating lots of salted, smoked, or pickled foods
  • Cigarette smoking, or alcohol overuse
  • Family history of stomach cancer

What are the symptoms of stomach cancer?

Early stomach cancer often does not cause symptoms. As the cancer grows, the most common symptoms are:

  • Discomfort or pain in the stomach area
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weight loss
  • Feeling full or bloated after a small meal (early satiety)
  • Vomiting blood or having blood in the stool

The symptoms of gastric cancer can be identical to those of other illnesses, such as gastric ulcer disease. The diagnosis is frequently made by doing a gastroscopic exam, or endoscopy.  A thin flexible tube with a camera on the end is inserted into the stomach through the esophagus. This allows the doctor to see if there are tumors, lesions, or other irregularities that might be causing the symptoms. If there is anything abnormal, such as abnormal tissues, they will be biopsied to see if they are cancerous. A biopsy is the only way to definitively determine whether cancer is present.

For more information:

Stomach Cancer
Mark Boguski, M.D., Ph.D. is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and is a member of the Society for Participatory Medicine, "a movement in which networked patients shift from being mere passengers to responsible drivers of their health" and in which professional health care providers encourage "empowered patients" and value them as full partners in managing their health and wellness.

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