BLACK SABBATH Guitarist TONY IOMMI Diagnosed With Lymphoma

Legendary BLACK SABBATH guitarist Tony Iommi has been diagnosed with the early stages of lymphoma, a cancer of the lymphocytes, a type of cell that forms part of the immune system.

Iommi, 63, is currently working with his doctors to establish the best treatment plan and remains upbeat and determined to make a full and successful recovery.

This comes as BLACK SABBATHOzzy Osbourne (vocals), Tony Iommi (guitar), Geezer Butler (bass) and Bill Ward (drums) — are writing and recording their first album in 33 years in Los Angeles (still set for release this fall) with producer Rick Rubin. They will now go to the U.K. to continue to work with Tony.

Iommi's BLACK SABBATH and HEAVEN & HELL bandmate, legendary heavy metal singer Ronnie James Dio, died of stomach cancer on May 16, 2010 at the age of 67.

In a June 2010 interview, Iommi stated about his former bandmate, "I was talking to Ronnie [a few days before he died], and he said, 'I've gotta have this new chemo, but I think it's working.' And that was the real big shock of it, because within a week of that, he had passed away. So it was a big shock for all of us, because we built ourselves up to [have him beat the disease] and, of course, we didn't expect to lose."

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, lymphoma is the name for many different types of cancer that arise in the lymphocytes (immune cells). Treatment might involve chemotherapy and in some cases radiotherapy and/or bone marrow transplantation, and can be curable depending on the histology, type, and stage of the disease.

There are three types of lymphocytes: B lymphocytes (B cells), T lymphocytes (T cells) and natural killer (NK) cells. B lymphocytes make antibodies to fight infection; T lymphocytes have many functions, including helping B lymphocytes make the antibodies that fight infection; and natural killer cells attack cancer cells and viruses. Lymphoma may arise in any of these types of lymphocytes. In general, B-cell lymphomas are more common than T-cell lymphomas; however, in the skin, T-cell lymphomas are the most common type.

About 20 percent of the white cells in the blood are lymphocytes. Most lymphocytes are found in the lymphatic system, the major part of the body's immune system. The lymphatic system consists of a network of organs, including the spleen, the lymph nodes (small bean-shaped structures located throughout the body), the lymphatic vessels and areas in the gastrointestinal tract.

Lymphoma is divided into two major categories: Hodgkin lymphoma (HL) and non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL). Cutaneous T-cell lymphomas (CTCLs), cancers of the T lymphocytes, constitute a rare group of NHLs that arise primarily in the skin and have various signs and symptoms, outcomes and treatment considerations.

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