Vivian Campbell ‘Doing Extremely Well’ After Latest Cancer Treatment
According to an update from his doctor, Def Leppard guitarist Vivian Campbell is "doing extremely well" after his latest treatment for Hodgkin's lymphoma, the type of cancer with which the musician was first diagnosed in 2013.
That's apparently due to a new immunotherapy drug the musician takes. After rounds of chemotherapy and even a stem cell transplant that failed to adequately combat the type of lymphoma Campbell has -- one in which cancer is found within white blood cells called lymphocytes -- a better plan of action was needed.
In a new interview with City of Hope, the musician who replaced late Leppard guitarist Steve Clark in 1992 discussed his recent experience with a drug called pembrolizumab (Keytruda), a medication he specifically sought after studying its advantageous effects. Instead of facing radiation treatment, Campbell worked with his doctor, Stephen Forman, M.D., the Francis & Kathleen McNamara Distinguished Chair in Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, on devising a treatment plan with the drug.
“I consider myself very, very fortunate that I’ve been able to find this treatment that I’ve responded to so well,” Campbell said. “Being able to continue my life and continue my work I think has been a big part of being able to come through all of this. My work is what keeps me alive. My bandmates initially wanted me to stay home and convalesce. I’m stubborn and I’m Irish and I never wanted to do that. I’ve always refused to capitulate to the cancer. I just wanted to give cancer the big middle finger and go on.”
In 2017, pembrolizumab was given approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for treatment of Hodgkin's lymphoma after a clinical trial found 22 percent of patients treated with the drug achieved complete remission.
For Campbell, the Def Leppard guitarist who noted that "compared to chemo, it’s so easy," the drug gives him a chance to fly a defiant hand in the face of the awful affliction that has hampered him for the past six years.
"I’ve always been a glass half-full kind of person, but now with cancer, my glass is brimming,” the guitarist said. “You really kind of recalibrate your thinking about each and every day in life. You look at your life a different way and you look at your priorities a different way. It helped me become a better guitar player. It helped me look inward. ... It's just been good for me. I kind of always look at it as when life gives you these sorts of obstacles, you have two choices. You can give in or you can fight, you know?"
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