(WENY) -- Country singer Toby Keith passed away earlier this week at the age of 62, after a battle with stomach cancer. His death comes a little more than two years after he revealed his diagnosis.  

Keith died of gastric cancer, which many know as stomach cancer, when the cancer starts in the stomach lining.

Dr. David Bertsch, the Chief of Surgical Oncology at Guthrie, said stomach cancer is infrequent in America, with a little less than 30,000 people diagnosed a year. He added that symptoms can be hard to notice. 

Usually, Dr. Bertsch said, patients will have vague abdominal pain in the upper region of the abdomen, unexplained weight loss, nausea, vomiting blood, and feeling full after eating a small amount of food. Because of these common symptoms, Dr. Bertsch said stomach cancer can be deadly when it is caught in later stages.  

“Unfortunately, many patients, when they’re diagnosed, have gastric or stomach cancer at a more advanced stage,” he said. “...meaning, that it has spread beyond the stomach to other areas and so...treatability goes down the more advanced it is.” 

There are ways to lower your risk factors. Dr. Bertsch said implementing healthy lifestyle habits will boost your overall health to protect yourself. 

“Good diet, avoidance of excess amount of smoked or processed meats, avoidance of nitrosamines, alcohol in moderation, and the traditional recommendation of avoiding smoking,” he said. 

While stomach cancer can occur in younger people, Dr. Bertsch said the risk does go up as we get older. For anyone, any age, it is important to be aware of what you are putting into your body to live a long, healthy life.