EXODUS Drummer TOM HUNTING Is Receiving Immunotherapy Treatment In His Battle With Cancer
January 3, 2022
EXODUS drummer Tom Hunting has opened up about his battle with squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) of the stomach.
The 56-year-old, who underwent a successful total gastrectomy in July 2021, discussed his ordeal during an appearance on "Put Up Your Dukes", the new podcast hosted by ex-EXODUS singer Rob Dukes. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Through that, they also found mesothelioma on my abdomen, and I got surgery for that too. And that's kind of what they're keeping an eye on now. And I'm getting immunotherapy.
"Chemo is like a nuclear bomb — they put it in you, and it goes in there and kills everything: cancerous cells, healthy cells; it all just gets obliterated," he explained. "And it's hard — it's hard on your body; it's hard on your everything.
"So that's where I'm at in the journey right now. I'm getting immunotherapy. Like I said, chemo is like a nuclear bomb that kills everything, and immunotherapy is more like… it trains your immune system to go in and kill any rogue activity on a cellular level. It's a lot like some of the HIV medicines they have nowadays, and it's a lot like the COVID vaccine. It tells your immune system to go out and kill this. If it's rogue and it's in your body, it trains your immune system to go kill it."
Hunting went on to say that he is "down with the science," adding that "it's taken me this far. And I get to live."
Tom told Rob that he wants to use his experience as a cancer survivor to interact with others who may be going through a similar situation.
"I'm not qualified now, but I think in a couple of more months, they deem me qualified to talk to other people about this disease, and I'm gonna do it," he said. "'Cause I want people to know about it and I want people to get checked. Just going public with it — I don't do social media, but what I read on the EXODUS [sites] was, like, 'Hey, I'm having gut problems too,' and, 'I'm gonna go get checked out now.' I hope people get the answers they're looking for."
"I'm not saying those drugs that they give you for your gut are bad. They get you by. But if you're having what you think is a gut problem, tell 'em you wanna get scoped. 'Cause some of those scans and some of those tests, they won't pick up what's going on inside there.
"Since I'm on this journey, dude, they're fucking scanning me constantly," Tom added. "'Cause they wanna see how I'm reacting to what they're doing too. So it's all part of the science and the evolution of the science. If they can help me live — and I love my life — and I can help them develop the science to help the next batch of people who you know are gonna get this shit, that's a win-win."
Hunting rejoined his EXODUS bandmates on stage in early October at the Aftershock festival in Sacramento, California.
EXODUS tapped John Tempesta to play drums for the band at Psycho Las Vegas in Las Vegas, Nevada in August and at Full Terror Assault in Cave In Rock, Illinois in September while Hunting was recovering from surgery. Tempesta was a member of EXODUS from 1989 until 1993 and played on the band's albums "Impact Is Imminent" (1990) and "Force Of Habit" (1992).
A GoFundMe campaign to help Hunting with medical expenses had previously raised more than $114,000 — including $5,000 from Tom's former EXODUS bandmate, current METALLICA guitarist Kirk Hammett, and $1,500 from FOZZY singer and wrestling superstar Chris Jericho.
EXODUS released its new album, "Persona Non Grata", on November 19 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap. For the third time in the band's history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
"Persona Non Grata" is the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release since the departure of Dukes, and the return of Steve "Zetro" Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.