EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting will undergo a total gastrectomy next week, less than five months after he started treatment for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy is done if the cancer has spread widely in the stomach. It is also often advised if the cancer is in the upper part of the stomach, near the esophagus.
Earlier today (Monday, July 5),Hunting shared the following update on his health: "Hey Y'all, I wanted to check in and thank everyone SOOOOOO much for the love and support! I see all the awesome events and things people are putting together out there to help me in this fight. I really am overwhelmed with gratitude and feel so blessed to be a part of this community we all share in. I really believe that angels are out there walking around that don't even know it, then shit gets rough and crazy, and they answer the call and jump into action. All of you are these!!! You all help me visualize being on the other side of this. FUCK CANCER!!!
"Speaking of fucking cancer, the treatment is working. I've had 4 now and the mass has shrunk to less than half the size it was in March.That's amazing progress! I've added the weight back I lost at the start of this. Clinically, these are all good signs. From the start, this could've gone in a really bad direction, but everything the doctors at UCSF laid out has all gone according to plan in turning things around. I'm very grateful to these unsung heroes!
"I'm slated for surgery 1 week from today on July 12th. Unfortunately it'll be a full gastrectomy, but the good news is I'll get to live which is definitely NOT overated. After recovery, I get 4 more treatments, then I can resume my life cancer-free.
"I can't wait to travel the world, playing music, enjoying every moment of this crazy journey!! I'll check in soon again and share how thing's are going. THANKS AND MUCH LOVE TO EVERYONE!!! CHEERS!!!!"
According to Cancer.org, a total gastrectomy involves the surgeon removing the entire stomach, nearby lymph nodes, and the omentum, and possibly removing the spleen and parts of the esophagus, intestines, pancreas, or other nearby organs if the cancer has reached them. The end of the esophagus is then attached to part of the small intestine. This allows food to move down the intestinal tract. But people who have had their stomach removed can only eat a small amount of food at a time. Because of this, they will need to eat more often.
A number of musicians, including members of EXODUS, MACHINE HEAD, TESTAMENT, DEATH ANGEL, STONE SOUR, KING DIAMOND, OVERKILL, D.R.I. and FOGHAT, have donated ultra-rare signed custom guitars, drum heads, cymbals, sticks, jerseys, other merchandise and rare collectables to be auctioned to raise funds for Tom's mounting medical expenses. The ultimate bidding items are a Yamaha super-limited-edition 50th-anniversary drum set worth at least $12,000; TESTAMENT's Ultimate Backstage Pass Experience which includes two round-trip tickets to said show along with hotel accommodations for two nights on top of the tickets and backstage passes worth over $5,000.
Bidding has already begun and won't end until July 20, three days after the July 17 benefit concert for Hunting at Ace Of Spades in Sacramento, California. Appearing on the bill will be BLIND ILLUSION, BONELESS ONES (featuring former FORBIDDEN guitarist Craig Locicero and ex-MACHINE HEAD drummer Chris Kontos) and JESUS CRISIS.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $97,000 — including $5,000 from Tom's former EXODUS bandmate, current METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett, and $1,500 from FOZZY singer and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho.
After Hunting went public with his diagnosis, guitarist Gary Holt said that EXODUS will "delay" the release of its recently completed new album, "Persona Non Grata", "so that when Tom has defeated this, he will be back to full strength to hit the road and pummel his drums like only he can! When he has kicked cancer's ass like we know he will, we will resume kicking YOUR asses with the sickest record yet!" he said.
The squamous cell carcinoma of the stomach is a very uncommon entity, with worldwide incidence of 0.04% to 0.07% of all gastric cancers.
"Persona Non Grata" will be the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.
"Persona Non Grata" was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap.