Artist News

Def Leppard man receiving more chemo for Hodgkin’s lymphoma

By | Published on Friday 27 June 2014

Vivian Campbell

Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is going through another round of chemotherapy after it emerged that cancer treatment he had last year was not as successful as initially hoped.

Campbell first announced he had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma a year ago, and he went through a round of chemo to tackle the disease. By November it looked like the cancer was in remission, but a follow-up scan showed “some growth coming back”. He’s now getting further treatment as part of a “clinical trial” of a new kind of chemotherapy.

Talking to Utah newspaper the Daily Herald as his band tours the US with Kiss, Campbell said: “The remission [announcement] was a little bit premature. I don’t know if the cancer came back or it never totally went away, but the initial scan I did last fall after doing my chemo came back clean. [But] there was something about it the oncologist was unclear about and didn’t feel good about, so I was referred to another specialist”.

That’s when Campbell received the bad news that more treatment was necessary. He’s now going through what he calls a “new high-tech chemo treatment”. Campbell explains: “I’m about halfway through it already, and it’s really kind of easy going. It’s the first new drug that’s been discovered for Hodgkin’s since 1977 and they made this discovery in 2011, and it’s actually being pioneered at City Of Hope [a hospital in LA], so I’m part of this research clinical trial that’s going on”

“I don’t know how it works, obviously I’m not a medical person, but somehow or other it just manages to target the cancer cells. It’s not like old school, carpet-bomb chemo, where it kills all the fast-growing cells, so I haven’t experienced any hair loss or any issues with my skin or nails or anything this time around, which is good”.

As for where his treatment will go next, he added: “Assuming that it all works and I actually get to a perceived remission stage by August, then as soon as the tour is over in early September I’m going to get a stem-cell transplant, which I can’t say I’m looking forward to, but I’ve been told if I don’t do that, the cancer’s going to just keep coming back every couple [of] years. And every time it’s a little bit more resistant. It is what it is. It could be worse”.

Asked if all this had ever led him to consider standing down from his band’s tour, he added: “When I was going through the chemo last year and the band said to me, ‘We’ve been offered these shows. Can you do them? Do you want to do them? Or we can get someone to cover for you?’ I said, ‘Fuck that… I’m not having someone else do my job’. There’s nothing worse than sitting around the house concentrating on the negative”.