Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson says oral sex gave him tongue cancer

Metal singer was given the all-clear from cancer in May

Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson has spoken about his recent cancer scare, suggesting 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.

Speaking in an Sirius-XM radio interview, Dickinson said of originally finding the tumours: “I had one golf ball-sized one in my tongue, and I had another one the size of a large 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.”


He continued, “Everybody makes the jokes about Michael Douglas [who made similar claims] because 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.”

“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.”


Speaking in another interview with Opie Radio’s Jim Norton, the singer said, “The thing about the HPV virus is people don’t know a great deal about it. 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?”