Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson speaks out on cancer and the HPV virus – watch

Dickinson believed he had cancer six weeks before diagnosis, but wanted to concentrate on recording 'The Book Of Souls'

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has spoken out on his cancer, suggesting in the process that it may have been caused by the sexually transmitted HPV virus.

The singer was given the all-clear in May after contracting cancer at the back of his tongue, for which he was treated with seven weeks of chemotherapy. He recorded the latest Maiden album ‘The Book Of Souls’ just before being diagnosed.

“The thing about the HPV virus is people don’t know a great deal about it,” Dickinson told Opie Radio’s Jim Norton. “I don’t mean to be flippant or anything, but you would expect lesbians to have a higher incidence of it. But no, there’s is 25% less than in men. It seems to be something that affects men.”


“There are 150 or so strains of HPV virus, but only a couple you’re interested in; 80% of us have been exposed to it, and you can’t get rid of it. It comes and it goes. For some reason, and nobody knows why, in guys over 40 it can persist.”

“The virus leaves behind a little genetic code, that starts off the cancer.”

Speaking of what he’s taken from the experience, Dickinson said “I’ve learnt to have less time for people who waste my time. If I want to waste my time, I’ll waste my own time. They also had me on morphine for the last couple of weeks for pain. It was very disappointing.”

He concluded “there are hundreds of thousands of people dealing with this every day. It’s astonishing there aren’t more people jumping off bridges, you know?”

Watch the 18-minute Dickinson interview in full below: