Def Leppard’s Vivian Campbell Discusses How Cancer Changed His Appearance

On the podcast “Lymphoma Voices,” Vivian Campbell recently talked candidly about his experience living with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The musician, who was diagnosed in 2013, talked about how his health has improved with continued therapy but also mentioned how “difficult” it has been to modify his appearance because of the side effects: “My hair started falling out when I started the ABVD chemotherapy ten years ago. It was challenging as a result. I had long hair my entire adult life, therefore it was a major contributing factor in my difficulty. Since I was eleven or twelve years old, I have grown my hair long, and it has continued to get longer. And when anything persists for a long time, it becomes a part of who you are, particularly if you play the guitar. To be completely honest, it offered me something to hide behind when I was performing, which was consoling. He continued, describing the significance of his hair to him.

Being a timid person by nature, I can relate to being a musician. To be honest with myself, even if performing is a big part of what Def Leppard does, I don’t really identify with it. Yeah, we’re musicians, and we’re songwriters, we compose songs, and we produce records, and we record music, but when we go on tour, we’re performers, and that’s part of it. Moreover, I had something to hide behind in my hair. For the most part of my life, it was a significant component of who I was. Therefore, it was challenging to let go of it the first time around. In an attempt to achieve a wig that looked as natural as possible, Campbell purchased a theatrical wig from a Los Angeles-based wig maker after experiencing hair loss. However, he decided not to wear the wig on his journey back home after the first time since he didn’t want to conceal his medical condition from the public. During the first Def Leppard show after the hair loss, the guitarist said that not having his hair on stage to hide behind was “liberating.

” Speaking more about the encounter, he gave the following explanation of the thinking behind being honest about his illness: Cancer is not a cause for shame. It’s acceptable to undergo medical treatment, bear the physical consequences of your care, and even hold a highly visible role as I did—going on a Def Leppard tour and performing in front of tens of thousands of fans. As I mentioned earlier, there was something quite freeing about it. Although it’s not my first option, you sort of accept it, take ownership of it, and make the most of it. Following the diagnosis in 2013, Campbell had a stem cell transplant and three rounds of chemotherapy. He began receiving immunotherapy in addition to pembrolizumab every three weeks when his illness reappeared in 2015. The guitarist went on the subsequent tours with the band, which were in the last few years, even though he missed the opening acts of Def Leppard’s summer tour that year. He is currently preparing for the final three shows of the band’s 2023 World Tour, which kicks off on November 8 in Australia.

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