Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson says the tongue and throat cancer he recently beat was caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV) – and he contracted it by engaging in too much oral sex.
In an interview on Eddie Trunk’s SiriusXM radio show earlier this week, Dickinson, who was diagnosed with cancer shortly before Christmas last year, detailed the discovery of his illness and how it has affected his vocal duties with Iron Maiden.
“It’s a virus – HPV, human papilloma virus,” Dickinson explained during the interview. “They all are. I’m almost willing to bet, anytime you hear about somebody who gets tonsil cancer, throat cancer, lung cancer, whatever it is, if they’re not heavy smokers and they’re not massive, heavy drinkers, it’s almost inevitably [HPV].”
“I had two tumors – I had one golf ball-sized one in my tongue, and I had another one the size of a strawberry or a small walnut in the lymph node in the right side of my neck, and that’s the one that felt a little strange,” Dickinson continued. “I thought, ‘Hmm, am I getting a cold? Am I getting some sort of bug, or what’s going on?’ But it didn’t go down, and it was kind of hard; it wasn’t squishy and moving around like normal soft tissue, a lymph node, does. So that was the giveaway, and typically, that is the only giveaway.”
Dickinson added that men have nothing to be ashamed about when it comes to discussing throat cancer caused by oral sex, and criticized those who joked about actor Michael Douglas’ cancer diagnosis from the same cause.
“There’s a five hundred percent increase in this type of cancer in men over forty – five hundred percent increase,” Dickinson said. “It’s massive. It’s the same virus that causes cervical cancer. The diagnosis is the same. It’s the same words they use…”
“And everybody makes the jokes about Michael Douglas, ’cause he was having oral sex, and it’s just like, okay, we need to get over that one, guys, because this is kind of serious. There’s hundreds of thousands of people at risk for this. And guys should know, if you get a lump here, and you’re over forty, don’t just assume antibiotics will get rid of it. Go and properly get it checked out. It’s important.”
Check out the rest of Dickinson’s interview with Eddie Trunk above (the discussion about cancer begins at around the 23:00 mark).