Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell shared an update about his battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2013. During a conversation with the “Lymphoma Voices” podcast, Campbell said the following:
“I’m still dealing with the lymphoma. It’s sort of like, it’s an American expression, whac-a-mole. You beat something back and then it pops up somewhere else. But it’s been a pretty consistent battle, but it hasn’t been too difficult for me. I deal with it fine. I’ve been able to live my life. I’ve been able to continue touring. For the bulk of those 10 years, I actually was doing immunotherapy.
”Starting in June of 2015, I started taking a drug called pembrolizumab. I did that as part of a clinical trial. We discussed a few options. And I’d heard about this immunotherapy, and it was a very nascent treatment and I was really pushing for doing it. I remember at the time my doctors wanted me to do radiation and maybe a combination of radiation and chemo. And I just thought, ‘Well, let’s just try this immunotherapy thing.
”Let’s see if this works.’ So I managed to get on the trial. I’m happy to say that it worked well for me. So from June of 2015 until essentially the end of 2022, I was able to, just about once a month, go in and do an infusion of pembrolizumab and just go about my life, and it was very, very easy for me to do. Honestly, the hardest part was scheduling with all my travel. There were very, very subtle, very benign side effects. For me, I tolerated the treatment very, very well. And that was working great.”
Vivian Campbell continued:
”But it sort of lost its efficacy a year, year and a half ago. And we could tell in the scans. I would do scans every three to four months just as a matter of protocol anyway to see what was happening. And my oncologist now had been telling me for essentially the last two years that the pembrolizumab was not being as effective as it once was and that we were gonna have to consider different treatments. So anyway, in November of last year, we did a combination of pembrolizumab with three chemo drugs. You have to forgive me ’cause I cannot remember the names of the chemo drugs.
”But anyway, so I did a course of treatment, six cycles of that combination therapy of the three chemo drugs and the pembrolizumab. Unfortunately, it didn’t put me into remission; we fell a little bit short of that. So I just recently, at the end of July, started doing six cycles of a combination therapy of a chemo drug called brentuximab and an immunotherapy drug called nivolumab. I’m halfway through that. I’ve done cycle three. I do cycle four early next week.
”So far, so good. I had to go and get this stunning haircut yesterday because the brentuximab does have hair loss as a side effect. So I could start telling in the last couple of weeks, every time I touched my hair, it was coming out. So, I’m a little bit more proactive by going and cutting it super, super short.”