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Poison’s Rikki Rockett could have lost tongue in cancer battle

Posion drummer Rikki Rockett opens up on why he chose experimental clinical trial to battle tongue cancer

Poison drummer Rikki Rockett has opened up on his battle with cancer.

Rockett developed a tumour on his tongue last summer and underwent nine rounds of chemotherapy followed by 35 radiotherapy sessions.

But with the situation showing no signs of improvement, and facing the possibility of the total removal of his tongue, the sticksman chose an experimental immune therapy called immunotherapy – a treatment which stimulates the immune system to fight cancer. As a result, the tumour has almost been completely eradicated.

Rockett tells the San Diego Union-Tribune: “I just didn't feel right. This should be getting better, not worse. I should be eating better, I should be swallowing better – what the hell's going on?”

He underwent a scan which showed that the original tumour was still present. “The lymph nodes on my right side lit up, the lymph nodes on my left side lit up, and on the side of my tongue there was stuff,” Rockett says.

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He then put his name forward to Dr. Ezra Cohen at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center – and waited to hear if he’d be accepted for the trial.

Rockett continues: “I was doing everything I could to think positive and that I was going to get on the trial. My little girl's getting her makeup done, and I get a call. I get looks from everybody like, I can't believe you're going to take this call. But it was Dr Cohen and I went, 'no, this is Dr Cohen, and I'm going to take this call.'

“It was almost like God intervened, 'For your daughter's life, I'm going to make this happen.'”

Poison frontman Bret Michaels said in April that he and the band would wait for Rockett to fully recover before making future plans. And the drummer says a return to action next year could be a possibility.

He says: “My understanding is there is a possibility for a spring tour on the table. I don't know the details, but that would be great to look forward to.”

For further details on immunotherapy, visit the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center's website.

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