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Vivian Campbell: Having Cancer 'Reinvigorated My Passion For Life And For My Work'

Def Leppard and Last In Line guitarist Vivian Campbell recently spoke to Talking Metal about his continuing battle with Hodgkin's lymphoma, with which he was diagnosed in 2013. He said (hear audio below): "It's one of these things — it's one step forward, two steps back.

"I'm not concerned about my health; I never really have been, to be honest. Maybe that's the wrong approach, I don't know, but it kind of works for me. I don't put a lot of thought in it. It's maintenance. The treatment that I'm doing right now I have to receive every month or so, and for the most part it seems to be working; it's holding the cancer at bay at least, and it's very benign in terms of side effects — certainly nowhere near as harsh as the chemo I did a couple of years ago."

He continued: "I've done three runs of chemo and a stem-cell transplant, and the cancer kept coming back, and now I'm doing this immunotherapy part of an FDA clinical trial, and like I say, it's working for me now, and I can do this at least until next summer, and then I'll have to reassess; I might have to do radiation or something else. But I try not to think about it too much. It's maintenance — like going to the dentist. I feel very fortunate that I'm at least able to continue my work while I'm doing all this. A lot of people suggested to me when I first got a cancer diagnosis that I sit at home and look after myself, and I couldn't imagine anything worse, to be honest.

"I'd say more than anything else, having cancer really lit a fire under my ass. It's really reinvigorated my passion for life and for my work, which is a big reason why I started pushing with the Last In Line band. Nothing gives me more joy than to go out there and beat the shit out of my Les Paul, to really get aggressive. I don't have to play very aggressively with Def Leppard; the challenge in Def Leppard is more about the vocal. But when I go on stage with Last In Line, I don't sing — I just play guitar — and I play a lot of guitar [laughs], and it feels good."

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.

Read more at Blabbermouth.