DEF LEPPARD and LAST IN LINE guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke to the Memphis radio station Rock 102.7 about his continuing battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2013. "It's not anything I've ever been too concerned with; I just kind of roll with the punches with most of that stuff," he said (hear audio below). "But I've been very fortunate for the last three years — actually, this month is the three-year anniversary I've been doing immunotherapy. I was part of a clinical trial. Long story short, I found a treatment that holds everything in place for me with the Hodgkin's lymphoma — it's not getting any worse and my hair is not falling out and I'm not having serious side effects to this drug [called pembrolizumab]. So I'm very, very fortunate — I can continue my life and my work."
He continued: "My work is very important to me; I mean, that's very cathartic to me, to be able to continue the work. Even when I was doing the real hardcore chemo a few years ago and whatnot, I still wanted to go out and do as many shows as possible. I missed a half dozen or so, I think, when I was doing a stem cell transplant, and I found that that was more heartbreaking to me than actually doing a stem cell transplant — the fact that I wasn't able to be on stage with my bandmates.
"So that's been a big part of it," he added. "My mindset has always been to just refuse to give in to cancer; I just will not capitulate to that."
Pembrolizumab is the same immunotherapy drug former president Jimmy Carter has been using to treat his metastatic melanoma.
Immunotherapy is a revolutionary approach to cancer therapy, and the idea behind it is to marshal the body's own defenses and aid them in the fight against cancer.
Campbell — who before joining DEF LEPPARD in 1992 was well known for his work with DIO and WHITESNAKE — went public with his Hodgkin's lymphoma diagnosis in June 2013.