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

Rikki Rockett
Rikki Rockett (Image credit: Getty)

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.

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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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent more than 30 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott maintains Louder’s buyer’s guides, scouts out the best deals for music fans and reviews headphones, speakers, books and more. He's written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog and has previous written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.