Vivian Campbell: ‘Playing with Def Leppard during cancer treatment was like therapy’

Cancer-stricken Def Leppard star Vivian Campbell is grateful he had the energy to continue rocking out on stage with his bandmates in between chemotherapy sessions, because it played a “big part” in his recovery. The musician reveals he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma as the group was preparing for a residency in Las Vegas earlier this year (13), but he was determined to soldier on through the shows, even though they wore him down.
He tells ABC News, “I actually got my cancer diagnosis right before we started these shows in March. It literally was the first day of rehearsal, I went in for a surgical biopsy, and then, the next day, my oncologist called me to tell me that I had Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“(It) was just a little bit weird for me being in Vegas and doing these shows… and playing rock ‘n’ roll and knowing that I’ve got a cancer.”
Campbell continued to play with Def Leppard during their tour of Europe this summer (13) and he admits hitting the stage each night served as a form of therapy for him.
He says, “I’m keeping busy, but I find that that’s good therapy for me. Physically, it is a little bit tough, you get tired, but it’s good mentally to keep moving forward…
“When you get a cancer diagnosis, you really have to rearrange your priorities in life… I’ve really enjoyed the focus on my work it’s brought to me, you know? I’ve really gotten back into my guitar playing.”
The rockers recently revealed they are planning to return to Sin City for another residency once Campbell regains his health, and the 51 year old assured fans in August (13) that he was winning his battle against cancer – in a post on his page, he wrote, “It’s chemo number 10 today. Only two more left after this, then it’s goodbye cancer, welcome back eyebrows – brilliant!”