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Black Sabbath’s Tony Iommi Likely Facing Cancer Battle for Remainder of His Life

Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi is thrilled to be back onstage performing for audiences again, but just because he’s doing so does not mean that his cancer battle has ended. The guitar great may have regained his strength to play again and complete a new disc with Black Sabbath, but he reveals in a new interview that his cancer battle may never be over.

Iommi himself told Guitar World that he thought his lymphoma was gone as his health had been improving, but he was informed otherwise and learned that it’s possible he may have to continue treatments for the remainder of his life.

Speaking about his health status, Iommi explained, “When I’d finished the chemo and the radiotherapy, I went to see the doctor again for my regular blood tests. I said, ‘So it’s gone now?’ And he said, ‘No, it’s not going to go. You’re not going to get rid of it. But we can treat it and work with it.’ I got all dismal, because I thought it was gone. He said there was a 30 percent chance of it going away, but I was probably going to have this for life.”

The guitarist added, “Now I get treatments to keep it from spreading. So every six weeks I go in for an infusion of Rituximab, which is one of the four ingredients when they give you the chemo. It takes a few hours, and it makes you feel a bit crap inside and a bit sick. But a couple weeks after, I start perking up again. So that’s how we are working it with the shows. I go out, then come back and go into the hospital for more treatment, more blood tests and all the rest of the rubbish. And then we do it all over again.”

Iommi and the band worked on the ’13′ album while he was receiving treatment and the group has made arrangements to schedule their tours around his infusions to allow him the time to recuperate before hitting the road. Black Sabbath’s ’13′ album arrives June 11.

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