EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting has undergone a successful total gastrectomy, less than five months after he started treatment for squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
Hunting's EXODUS bandmate Gary Holt took to his Instagram about 45 minutes after the completion of the surgery — which lasted between four and five hours — and said that "everything went according to plan." He added: "Gastrectomy complete, heavily sedated but all cancer and mesothelioma nodules removed. He's a warrior." He went on to thank the fans "for all the positive vibes."
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.
On July 5, Hunting said that he had four rounds of chemotherapy and that "the mass [had] shrunk to less than half the size it was in March… After recovery [from gastrectomy], I get four more treatments, then I can resume my life cancer-free."
He added: "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 $98,000 — 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, 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.