Mark Hoppus Gives a Health Update
- Blink-182 frontman Mark Hoppus said that his chemo is working to destroy his cancer.
- “Scans indicate that the chemo is working! I still have months of treatment ahead, but it’s the best possible news,” wrote Hoppus, who revealed last week that he is battling stage 4 lymphoma.
- Lymphoma often creeps in silently and either without symptoms or with symptoms that do not necessarily point directly to cancer, making the disease difficult to diagnose.
“Scans indicate that the chemo is working! I still have months of treatment ahead, but it’s the best possible news,” wrote Hoppus on his social media accounts.Read More
A few hours later he tweeted: “Chemotherapy Gary.” The significance of that message is unclear.
— ϻ𝔞Ⓡ𝔨 𝐇𝑜Ƥ𝐩ย𝓼 (@markhoppus) July 19, 2021
This comes just a few days after Hoppus informed fans that he was diagnosed with stage IV lymphoma.
“The cancer isn’t bone-related, it’s blood-related. My blood’s trying to kill me,” the musician told fans on Twitch last week.
“My classification is diffuse large B-cell lymphoma stage IV-A, which means, as I understand it, it’s entered four parts of my body. I don’t know how exactly they determine the four-part of it, but it’s entered enough parts of my body that I’m stage IV, which I think is the highest that it goes. So, I’m stage IV-A.”
Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is the most common form on non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, accounting for about 23 % of new cases each year according to the Lymphoma Research Foundation.
It is both an aggressive and fast growing form of cancer, which can arise in lymph nodes as it did in Hoppus’ case or sometimes even outside of the lymphatic system in the gastrointestinal tract, testes, thyroid, skin, breast, bone, or even brain.
DLBCL attacks the body’s B-lymphocytes, which are the white blood cells which produce antibodies needed to fight infections and viruses in the body. They develop from stem cells in the bone marrow and play a crucial role in the body’s immune system.
Once DLBCL takes over a cell it stops producing the antibody protein. The current treatment is four months of targeted therapy plus standard chemotherapy, which given Hoppus’ timeline it seems he has just completed.
Most DLBCL is diagnosed in adults over the age of 50, with men slightly more likely to have the disease than woman, and individuals who have a compromised immune system at a much greater risk.
Hoppus has been open about how difficult his chemo had been, and how hopeful he was to get some good news when he went in on Monday for his results.
“Ideally, I go in tomorrow and they say, ‘Congratulations, your chemotherapy has worked and you are all done and you’ll never have to think about this cancer again for the rest of your life.’ I hope,” said Hoppus.
Hoppus had been anticipating this news for the past week, describing it as a life or death moment on July 10 in a series of tweets.
to beat this through chemotherapy or through bone marrow transplants, but either way I’m determined to kick cancer’s ass directly in the nuts. Love to you all. Let’s. Heckin. Go. pic.twitter.com/6ih3AEJq7y
— ϻ𝔞Ⓡ𝔨 𝐇𝑜Ƥ𝐩ย𝓼 (@markhoppus) July 11, 2021
“Apologies if I’m oversharing but it’s so surreal to think that this week I’ll take a test that may very well determine if I live or die. Thanks to everyone for the positive thoughts and encouragement,” said Hoppus. “I read all your replies and it means the world to me. Thank you. 🙏🏻 I’m going to beat this through chemotherapy or through bone marrow transplants, but either way I’m determined to kick cancer’s ass directly in the nuts. Love to you all. Let’s. Heckin. Go.”
Hoppus, 49, then spent the past week sharing some of the side effects he is experiencing while undergoing chemo.
“Chemotherapy gives me hiccups?” he wrote last week. He also noted that after one chemo treatment he “felt like hot garbage.”
The bassist revealed he was battling cancer in a post on social media in June. He first posted and then deleted a photo on his Instagram account before tweeting a short statement.
“For the past three months I’ve been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer. I have cancer. It sucks, and I’m scared, and at the same time I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this,” wrote Hoppus.
“I still have months of treatment ahead of me but I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive.”
He closed out by telling his friends he was excited to one day be cancer-free and see them all at a concert in the “near future.”
Sneaky Lymphoma Symptoms
Lymphoma is a cancer that often creeps in silently, without symptoms. And even when people do have symptoms, they don’t necessarily point directly to cancer. For example, swollen glands are much more likely to be from an upper respiratory infection than lymphoma.
The sneaky nature of symptoms, coupled with a lack of screening for lymphoma, leads many people to be diagnosed at an advanced stage — 3 or 4. By that point, the cancer may have already spread throughout their body. Yet even at a late stage, the outlook isn’t as dire as many people might assume.
“The one thing that I always reassure people about when they are diagnosed with advanced stage lymphoma is that, unlike other cancers, where advanced stage is a death sentence, that’s certainly not the case for lymphoma,” Dr. Elise Chong, medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, told SurvivorNet in a previous interview.
For example, the 5-year relative survival rate for early-stage follicular lymphoma is 96%. Once the disease has spread, the 5-year survival rate is 85% — still good odds.
“We have many treatments with which people can either be cured with advanced stage lymphoma or have very good remissions,” added Dr. Chong. “So it doesn’t change how treatable someone is, even when they do have advanced stage lymphoma.”
Spotting the Symptoms
The first lymphoma symptoms can be so subtle that you might not even notice them. It may not be until you visit your doctor for a check-up that you discover there could be a problem.
“People say, ‘But I feel completely fine,’ and that’s very normal,” pointed out Dr. Chong. If a lump is found, often “it’s only because either someone palpated a lymph node and felt some swelling in their neck or in their groin or under their arm.”
If you are at risk for this cancer because you had cancer or an organ transplant in the past, you have an autoimmune disease, or you have an infection such as HIV or Epstein-Barr, it may be worth watching out for symptoms like these:
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck, armpits, or groin
- Weight loss
- Swollen belly
But keep in mind that these are more likely to be symptoms of something far less serious, such as a run-of-the-mill infection.
There are also a group of symptoms doctors refer to as “B symptoms.” Those include a fever, night sweats, or weight loss. “If people are having any of these symptoms, it’s really important that they tell their physician early so that the proper testing can be done,” noted Dr. Chong.
Finding Lymphoma With Imaging Tests
Sometimes the first sign of lymphoma appears not as a symptom, but as a clue on an imaging test that’s done for another reason. “I have patients who’ve gotten into car accidents and said, ‘I had a scan of my body and they saw these lymph nodes,’ and that’s how initially the lymphoma was found,” explained Dr. Chong.
If your symptoms appear first, your doctor might send you for an imaging test. An x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan can identify the cause.
The only way to confirm whether you have lymphoma is with a biopsy. Your doctor will remove a piece of tissue from a lymph node, or the entire node. Then, a specially trained doctor called a pathologist examines the sample in a laboratory to see whether it contains lymphoma cells, and if so, which type of lymphoma they are.
A biopsy can either put your mind at ease by letting you know that you don’t have cancer, or give you a sense of direction by giving your doctor a launching-off point to plan your treatment. If you do have lymphoma, you can get at least some comfort from knowing that there are a number of good treatments to help manage it, even if you’re diagnosed at an advanced stage.