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For Def Leppard's guitarist Vivian Campbell, his chronic cough was ultimately found to be due to Hodgkin's Lymphoma in his chest around his windpipe. In his own word's that he posted on the band's Facebook page (June 10, 2013 post):
“I feel fortunate that my cancer sent me an alarm call in the form of ‘the cough that wouldn’t quit’. Otherwise, how would I have known? After several months of trying every inhaler known to man, my doctor finally had me X-rayed. A further CAT scan revealed that enlarged lymph nodes were doing wrestling manoeuvres on my windpipe – hence the cough. What was causing the enlarged lymph nodes, however, was yet to be determined, so I underwent a surgical biopsy on March 11th, the first day of Leppard rehearsals for our Viva Las Vegas shows. Obviously, I didn’t make it to rehearsal that day, but it’s okay; I know the songs by now…"Fortunately, compared to other types of lung cancer, Hodgkin's Lymphoma is more indolent leading to vague symptoms like a chronic cough that goes on for months if not years. It is also highly curable.
Just goes to show you that for patients suffering from chronic cough, more needs to be done than just a chest x-ray, breathing tests, and trying out different inhalers.
Sometimes, a CT scan of the chest and even bronchoscopy may need to be performed to fully evaluate pulmonary etiologies for a chronic cough.
And if nothing is found wrong with the lungs... further testing to check out other disease processes that may lead to a chronic cough is required and may include barium swallow, allergy testing, methacholine testing, 24 hour impedance testing, etc, etc, etc.
Def Leppard's Vivian Campbell battling Hodgkin's. USAToday 6/10/13