Blink-182's Mark Hoppus Gives Fans An Update
- Mark Hoppus played his bass for the first time since his cancer diagnosis and answered some fan questions while appearing on Twitch.
- He said he was struggling 10 days after finishing round one of chemo, noting: “I felt like my blood was drained because I would walk across the house and I would get so lightheaded, and I think that’s because my red blood cell count must be so low.”
- Dr. Marleen Meyers, an oncologist at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, previously told SurvivorNet that patients should speak with their doctor or specialists about prescriptions that might lessen their side effects after chemo.
The Blink-182 singer, 49, appeared on Twitch and pulled out his bass for the first time since his diagnosis to play a few songs for fans. He then answered some questions, including one inquiring about his current medical status.Read More
The rocker shared a bit more on Twitch including specifics about how awful he was feeling in the wake of his first round of chemo.
“I got chemo last Wednesday, like 10 days ago, and I felt awful. Terrible, terrible worst I’ve ever felt on the chemo. I felt out of my own brain. I felt like the chemo brain was really bad,” explained Hoppus.
“I couldn’t get off the couch, I felt out of my own body just terrible.”
He went on to say: “And then I felt like my blood was drained because I would walk across the house and I would get so lightheaded, and I think that’s because my red blood cell count must be so low. I feel alright now and I think seven and 10 days after is supposed to be the worst and I’m at day 10 or 11 now.”
Hoppus then said he was looking forward to an upswing before his second round of chemo begins next month.
He has been very open about his cancer journey as he battles 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.
“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 for the results after his first round was completed last week.
“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 said it was 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 has also revealed some of the side effects he is experiencing while undergoing chemo.
“Chemotherapy gives me hiccups?” he wrote on Twitter. 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.”
Combating Chemo Side Effects
There are a lot of myths about how chemotherapy impacts people’s lives. It’s sometimes assumed that while undergoing chemotherapy you’ll be restricted to your home, and unable to move around – but the opposite is actually true, Dr. Marleen Meyers an oncologist at NYU Perlmutter Cancer Center, previously told Survivor Net. Many people can continue to work and Dr. Meyers encourages her patients to exercise, even if it’s just a walk. It can make a huge difference when dealing with fatigue, a common side effect of chemotherapy.
There are also treatments to help with the side effects of chemotherapy. Many medications are available for treating nausea and vomiting as well as anemia.
Other side effects like hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia may be able to be managed with integrative medicine, like mindfulness, yoga, and acupuncture.
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.