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Tony Iommi’s Cancer is in Remission


Black Sabbath guitarist and fucking icon Tony Iommi was diagnosed with lymphoma — blood cancer in the lymphatic system — in January of 2012. He underwent treatment immediately, and though he issued a couple of updates during that process he’s been relatively quiet on the topic since, save a quick quote in 2015 stating that he’s “fine and having regular blood tests” to dispel rumors that a Black Sabbath show cancelation was due to his health. This is one of those cases where no news is good news, and since Iommi’s been trucking it out all over the world for months on end this year as part of Sab’s last ever tour, it’s a fair assumption to think he’s doing OK.

But now we KNOW he’s doing OK. At a plaque-unveiling event at the The Spire Specialist Care Centre – a new, £1.3 million facility on the grounds of Solihull’s Spire Parkway Hospital, where Iommi received treatment for his illness — the metal pioneer revealed to The Birmingham Mail that he’s officially in remission, although he remains mindful that the cancer could still return at any time:

I came back to hospital straight after we finished a round of European tour dates, and the good news is that everything is alright up to this point.

I am in remission and hopefully, this situation will continue.

The chemotherapy and the follow-up treatment appear to have done the trick – but I’m aware that it could come back one day.

I have a blood test every six weeks at my GP’s, and I come in here at regular intervals for check-ups. That’s something that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my life, looking for any warning signs that it might be rearing its ugly head again.

It’s important here to understand exactly what’s meant by “remission,” and since I wasn’t quite sure myself I looked it up on WebMD:

There are two types of remission:

  1. Partial remission means the cancer is still there, but your tumor has gotten smaller — or in cancers like leukemia, you have less cancerthroughout your body. Some doctors tell patients to think of theircancer as “chronic,” like heart disease. It’s something you will need to continue to check. If you’re in partial remission, it may mean you can take a break from treatment as long as the cancer doesn’t begin to grow again.
  2. Complete remission means that tests, physical exams, and scans show that all signs of your cancer are gone. Some doctors also refer to complete remission as “no evidence of disease (NED).” That doesn’t mean you are cured.

There’s no way for doctors to know that all of the cancer cells in your body are gone, which is why many doctors don’t use the word “cured.” If cancer cells do come back, it usually happens within the 5 years following the first diagnosis and treatment.

From the language Iommi’s using, and what we already know about his treatment and condition, it seems a safe assumption that he’s referring to complete remission. Which is GREAT news! Even so, Iommi hasn’t quite reached the 5 year threshold yet, but he’s SO close — come January 2017 he’ll have a lot less to worry about, although the threat will of course always be there. In any case, we are very, very happy to hear that Iommi’s cancer is now considered to be in remission by the doctors treating him. Judging by the reports of all who have attended dates of “The End” tour, Iommi is in mighty fine health.

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