Mark Hoppus Opens Up About Getting His Cancer Diagnosis

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Mark Hoppus recently opened up about his scary experience with cancer this year. In a candid new interview with GQ, the Blink-182 frontman—who announced that he was cancer-free in September after six months of chemotherapy—shared details about how he received his stage IV non-Hodgkin lymphoma diagnosis, the grueling (and lingering) side effects of chemotherapy, and the support system that helped him get through it.

Hoppus, who first revealed that he’d been in cancer treatment for three months in June, told GQ that he got his diagnosis during a session with a new therapist. He had recently seen a doctor about a knot in his shoulder, and the doctor had run some tests. (While some of the more classic signs of non-Hodgkin lymphoma—which starts in white blood cells of the body's lymphatic system—include symptoms like enlarged lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, weight loss, and chest pain or pressure, according to the American Cancer Societyresearch indicates that severe shoulder pain is not uncommon.) 

Shortly after that doctor's appointment, Hoppus met with a new therapist to help address his depression. “So I walk into the therapist's office and I'm like, ‘Oh, hello. How are you doing? Very nice to meet you. Thanks for making the time—hang on a second. I have to take this call,’” Hoppus recalled. His doctor told him over the phone that he had lymphoma and needed to start chemotherapy, a common treatment option for lymphoma, right away. “And I was like, ‘Okay, cool. Thank you very much.’ I hang up the phone and turn to [the therapist]. ‘Oh, hi. So, yeah, I have cancer. Where do we start?’ ”

Being diagnosed with cancer at the same time as starting with a new therapist was helpful for getting through the depression and emotional whirlwind Hoppus experienced after he got the news. “I had a really dark time after finding out,” he said. “I went through this whole period of like, not why me, but of course me. Why wouldn't it be me? We've had so much good luck and good fortune, and things have kind of fallen into place for me specifically for so long, that of course I was due. I was due for something tragic.”

Hoppus also talked about the challenging side effects he experienced while undergoing chemotherapy, which for many people include things like fatigue, mental cloudiness, mood changes, nausea and vomiting, anemia, hair loss, and kidney problems, per the ACS. “I felt so shitty,” he said. “Chemo is like being on the worst international, overnight flight where you can't sleep or get comfortable.” 

Some of those effects are ongoing. Hoppus said that he still experiences "chemo brain," a term used by many cancer patients and doctors to describe the cognitive impairment (such as forgetfulness) that people experience during and following cancer treatment, the ACS explains. “The brain fog is so bad,” said Hoppus, who has recently had trouble remembering things like the names of his close friends or places that he's been to. "The chemo brain is just heartbreaking to me because I can feel myself diminished mentally right now.”

Hoppus also shared some of the places he's drawn strength from during his ordeal, in addition to therapy early on. During his low points in chemo, he leaned on his mother, who herself has recovered from the same kind of cancer. (While the causes of lymphoma are not completely understood and there is likely a combination of factors involved, people with a family history may inherit DNA mutations that increase their risk of developing the disease, the ACS says.) 

“She's been my greatest resource this whole time,” Hoppus said. “Nobody knows what it's like except somebody who's gone through chemotherapy. And so being able to talk to my mom and just be like, ‘I feel shitty today. I feel really awful,’ and have her be able to say, ‘I know what you mean. I've had those days as well….’”

Hoppus reflected on feeling grateful for the outpouring of love he's received on a broader scale, too, from fans, strangers, and cancer survivors. “I'm totally overwhelmed with the support and love,” Hoppus said. “I don't know. People online I have never met sending support. Cancer survivors of the same lymphoma that I had even put together a video where they covered a Blink song, and it made me cry.”


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