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Lymphoma and Pets
Sabbath Guitarist Iommi Updates Fans on Progress Against Lymphoma
Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi announced at the beginning of 2012 that he had been diagnosed with follicular non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Now, Iommi has updated fans via Sabbath's website following the conclusion of their North American tour. He explained:
Well we've finished the U.S. leg of our world tour. It was a bit longer than I would have liked as I've already been in hospital having another infusion. The tour was amazing though, you always hope it's going to go well but you never know, it's great to look out and see so many people of all ages. The new songs have been going down well, we've played them enough now so we're comfortable and that helps the performance. Many thanks to everyone who came to see us, South America next, and just like Australia this is a first time for Ozzy, Geezer and me together. All the best!
When Iommi talks of infusions, he's referring to infusions of a drug called rituximab, which is a monoclonal antibody that selectively kills specific cells in the body, namely cells that express a certain protein on their surfaces that is closely associated with his type of lymphoma.
The tour dates are arranged so that I can always get back for treatment. It's the only way I can manage my illness and keep on the road. I'd love to play more shows than we're doing but my health has to be sorted out first ... After each session I feel sick and tired, and that lasts for a week or so. I'm finding that it takes around 10 days to fully recover from each round of treatment, but if that's what it takes, I have to accept it.
From his explanation, it seems clear that Iommi is following a maintenance regimen that can run as long as two years. It is intended to keep his cancer at bay for as long as possible before he may or may not require additional and more aggressive treatment.