Tony Iommis four-year battle with non-Hodgkin lymphoma – first sign

Cancer Research UK provide details on lymphoma

When Black Sabbath guitarist Tony lommi was told he had cancer in 2012 he thought, “That’s it then”.

The musician had just undergone surgery to reduce the size of his prostate after discovering a lump on his groin.

But while doctors said his prostate was healthy, they discovered a type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in a lump they removed.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that develops in the lymphatic system, a network of vessels and glands spread throughout your body.

Due to the location of the lymph nodes, the most common signs of the disease are painless swellings in the neck, armpit or groin.

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Initially Tony wasn’t going to get the lump checked out, believing it was just his prostate “acting up”, he revealed in an interview with The Mirror.

But frontman Ozzy Osbourne pressed his bandmate to get it checked, leading to the diagnosis.

In his book released this year, Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler shared how this came about.

He wrote:. “As writing was in process at Ozzy’s house, he made the observation that Tony had lost too much weight and that he should get checked out.

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“When Tony got back to England, he was diagnosed with a form of lymphoma.”

Following the diagnosis, Tony, now 75, underwent surgery on his lymph nodes, six rounds of chemotherapy and an antibody treatment.

Luckily, in 2016 doctors told Tony his cancer was in remission.

And a lump discovered in his throat not long after was discovered to be non-cancerous.

However, he is still wary that the disease could return.

In 2017, he told NME: “To me, it’s never gonna go away; it’s always gonna be there,” he continued about his cancer diagnosis.

“According to my oncologist, the professor, he said it’s probably gonna come back.

“So it’s hard to sort of go, ‘Oh, well, that’s brilliant then.’

“But I do live [day] by day now, and just every day is a winner, really. And we’ll see. I hope it doesn’t come back, but you never know.”

According to the NHS, the most common sign of non-Hodgkin lymphoma is a painless swelling in either the neck, armpit or groin.

However, it can also cause:

  • Night sweats
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • A high temperature (fever)
  • Feelings of breathlessness
  • Persistent itching of the skin all over the body.

If you experience symptoms you should speak to your GP.

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