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Vivian Campbell Talks New High-Tech Cancer Treatment

Vivian Campbell

We all cheered when Vivian Campbell announced that his cancer scare looked like it would be ending in remission, and our hearts fell when he learned it was coming back again. But as he disclosed in a recent interview, he’s got cutting-edge medical technology on his side.

Speaking with Utah’s Daily Herald paper, Campbell explained that after a leading oncologist told him he appeared to be in remission, “I kind of took that ball and I ran with it, and unfortunately it turned out to be premature. So the follow-up scan that I did a couple months later showed that there was definitely some growth coming back.” Now, he says, “I’m actually doing this new high-tech chemo treatment, I’m about halfway through it already, and it’s really kind of easy going.”

“Chemo” and “easy going” don’t usually go together, but that may not always be the case. “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 here at [famed Los Angeles-area hospital] City of Hope, so I’m part of this research clinical trial that’s going on,” continued Campbell. “It’s very, very benign chemo, actually it just targets — 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.”

Admitting that his treatment schedule would be a little “awkward” to work around during Def Leppard’s current run of tour dates with Kiss, he added that if everything works out the way it’s supposed to, he’ll head back to the hospital this fall for another procedure. “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 years. And every time it’s a little bit more resistant. It is what it is,” he shrugged, laughing, “It could be worse — but at least I have health insurance.”

As for the tour, which opened June 23, Campbell said Def Leppard will be focusing on its hits — and won’t even try to compete with Kiss on the pyrotechnics front. “I mean our show is, you know, pretty high-energy music and we’ve always had a bit of a production value to our show,” he pointed out, “but even at our strongest, we couldn’t compete with that, so we’ve decided not to bother.”

Next: Top 10 Def Leppard Songs

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