Amidst the headline-making emergency health crisis of Judas Priest guitarist Richie Faulkner last month, it turns out frontman Rob Halford recently went through a very significant health battle of his own. In fact, the metal legend quietly battled prostate cancer during the pandemic.
Heavy Consequence recently caught up with the Metal God for an interview about the band’s brand-new 50 Heavy Metal Years of Music box set, and he casually told us, “I had my little cancer battle a year ago, which I got through and that’s in remission now, thank God. That happened while we were all locked down, so things happen for a reason as far as time sequence of events. I have nothing but gratitude to be at this point in my life, still doing what I love the most.”
Say what? While Halford hadn’t previously mentioned his cancer battle publicly, it turns out the details were revealed in the new chapter added to the just-released updated paperback edition of Halford’s 2020 memoir, Confess, in which he writes, with great specificity and some humor, about being diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer during the spring of 2020, and again earlier this year.
The diagnosis, Halford writes, came after extensive testing that followed symptoms dating back to 2017. “How did I feel?” he writes. “I felt a combination of shock, horror, and oddly, relief — at least now I know!…’Am I going to die?’ It was all I could think of. I know blokes who’ve died of prostate cancer. ‘No, you’re not going to die, Rob,’ said Dr. Ali.” Halford chose prostatectomy surgery, which was successful on July 5th, 2020, to remove the cancer rather than radiation therapy. (Spoiler alert: There are descriptions about catheter and other probing device procedures that are not for the faint of heart.)
The new chapter also reveals that more cancer on his prostate bed was found earlier this year, and that Halford went through radiation treatments during April and May, getting an all-clear in June just before he traveled to visit family in England. He also had an appendectomy after a tumor was discovered on his appendix.