Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell surprised the rock world earlier this summer when he revealed he was being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. The even more shocking news was that the axeman was determined not to let his chemo treatments stop him from joining the band on their summer tour.

While on the road, Campbell opened up about the way his treatments forced him to hop between continents in between Def Leppard gigs.

"The band has been very accommodating," he says. "We've been able to [make it] work because there have been enough gaps in the schedule. Chemo treatment number six I did on the 18th of June, and then the next day I flew to France to join the band. And then I [flew] back to LA on the 7th of July for my seventh treatment, and I [left] for Canada the day after that."

After each treatment is over, Campbell says he "won't be feeling well for a day or two, but for the most part it's been something I've been able to handle."

However, the Def Leppard guitarist, who has also played with Dio and Whitesnake, adds that continuing to rock in the face of cancer wasn't necessarily always his plan.

"Hell, I didn't want to miss it. I don't feel like laying at home in bed! But I didn't know at first. You never know how chemo is going to affect you — it affects people in different ways, depending on your cancer, what stage it's at, and what kind of treatment they give you. I told the guys in the band that I'd go as far as four chemo treatments and then I'd make a decision. By [then], I was pretty confident I was going to be able to do this."

Interview continues after slideshow

Loading Slideshow...
  • Delta Goodrem - was diagnosed at 18 with Hodgkins Lymphoma, an announcement that incited an outpouring of support from her particularly Australian fanbase.

  • In the two decades since Michael J Fox's Parkinson's diagnosis, the popular actor has continued to work on both TV and film, as well as writing two autobiographies and creating a foundation. He has received many awards for his humanitarian work, and says that his illness has in countless ways improved his life.

  • Olivia Newton-John's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment has inspired the Australian singer to work tirelessly on behalf of others, including walking the Chinese wall to raise funds for her new Wellness Centre in a Melbourne hospital.

  • Leslie Ash became the unfortunate figurehead of the MRSA bug that plagued various UK hospitals after she caught the superbug. The actress was awarded £5m in damages, and still walks with a stick.

  • TLC's T-Boz (Tionna Watkins) was diagnosed as a child with sickle cell anaemia, which gave her a reduced life expectancy by doctors she has continued to confound.

  • Christopher Reeve was paralysed following his fall from a horse in 1995. Until his death a decade later, the actor dedicated his efforts to raising funds and advocating for political support to removing the blocks to essential stem cell research for spinal injuries.

  • Anastasia - the American singer discovered she had breast cancer during a standard mammogram ahead of breast reduction surgery in 2003. Following her own treatment, she immediately launched the Anastasia Fund to promote awareness among younger women.

  • Michael C Hall had a mixed year in 2010. He received a Golden Globe for his role in <em>Dexter</em>, which he accepted during his treatment for Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The following April, he announced himself once again fit for work.

  • Anthony Andrews - was hospitalised in 2003 for "a salt imbalance". This came about as the unexpected consequence of drinking too much water while performing on stage during a hot weather spell in London.

  • Russell Watson has recently resumed his career after being struck down ttwice with life-threatening brain tumours. He has recorded his first album since treatment, and credits his surgery with his new, deeper voice.

  • Martin Kemp - former singer and EastEnders star had two brain tumours in the 1990s, and had pioneering treatment for the second. He has been acting since, and returned to the road with his band Spandau Ballet.

  • Cheryl Crowe has not had a smooth time of it - going through treatment for breast cancer in 2006, and then this year announcing she has a brain tumour.

  • Gail Porter's bold, bald head has become a staple of red carpets following the presenter's decision to shave it all off, when her alopecia returned. She has made a documentary about the process too.

  • JEntourage star Jeremy Piven spun the rumour mill into action when he mysteriously dropped out of a Broadway play. He later explained he'd had mercury poisoning, caught from a culprit offering of sushi.

  • Michael Douglas received intensive treatment for throat cancer - and the stress of watching her husband's gruelling experience ignited Catherine Zeta Jones' bipolar disorder for which she attended a clinic in America.

  • Mariah Carey's husband Nick Cannon was struck down with liver failure in January this year. Following his recovery, he has made public the lifestyle changes he needs to make to ensure continued health.

  • Sharon Stone - suffered a stroke in 2001, the seriousness of which was played down at the time, but which actually saw bleeding into her brain for nearly a fortnight. The actress only regained feeling in her left leg months later.

  • Madonna brought several bones in 2005 when she fell from a horse, and suffered further bruising falling again in 2009...

  • ... as did TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, in a frightening fall in February this year, when she was learning to ride. Her horse stamped on her, and she lost 3 pints of blood.

  • Cheryl Cole - malaria charities everywhere found their profiles shot up when the Girls Aloud singer caught the illness during a trip to Africa in 2010.

  • Kylie Minogue moved to Paris for treatment for breast cancer following her diagnosis in 2005. She eventually gave some intensely revealing interviews about this dark period in her life, and said the 5-year anniversary would be a very important moment.

  • ... while sister Dannii has had to battle with an underactive thyroid condition.

  • Peter Andre suffered from meningitis during his marriage to Katie Price, the symptoms of which first led him to think he merely had a bad bout of flu...

  • ... while Katie Price had a cancer scare in 2002 after having a malignant growth removed from her finger.

Once Campbell made up his mind, Def Leppard set out on a tour that saw them crisscross Europe and play a few select dates in North America. The Irish rocker says he's been inspired by the challenges his own bandmates have conquered over the years.

"This band has always been a band of survivors. We have the one-armed drummer! You go on stage with Rick Allen every night, and you're reminded of [how to] overcome adversity. I've been with the band for 21 years — I replaced the original guitar player, Steve Clark, after he died. Some people say Def Leppard are an unlucky band, but one thing you can say about Def Leppard is we're a resilient bunch."

Campbell says that so far, the biggest change he’s had to make while dealing with cancer has been a matter of aesthetics.

"My hair!" he laughs. "I've had long hair since 11 years of age, that was when I started growing it. [Maintaining it] was many hours out of my day. I've never felt good about cutting my hair, but this has kind of forced me to do it. Right now I've got a military-style buzz cut, and with each chemo treatment it's falling out more and more. But I'm 50 years of age — a haircut was long overdue anyway."

This month, Campbell also hit the road with Dio's reunited lineup, known as Last In Line, with dates in California and the UK.

"I'm feeling splendidly well," he says. "I feel very, very fortunate that my body has been able to handle the chemo and I’m still able to go about my normal life, give or take a couple days around the chemo treatments."

Loading Slideshow...
  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • Def Leppard

  • (Crédit photos: Marc Young)