IRON MAIDEN's BRUCE DICKINSON Didn't Say He Got Tongue Cancer From Performing Oral Sex

October 17, 2015

IRON MAIDEN singer Bruce Dickinson was recently interviewed on 97.7 HTZ-FM (CHTZ),Southern Ontario's Best Rock radio station. You can now listen to the chat using the SoundCloud widget below.

Speaking about the fact that HPV, the human papilloma virus, was the cause of his tongue cancer diagnosis in December 2014, Bruce said: "Nobody knows why one group of people get this cancer and another group don't, given that an awful lot of people are exposed to this virus in their lifetime. Most people… It's a very, very easy virus to transmit, and they still don't fully understand, you know, all the way to transmission. Effectively, if anybody has ever had a verruca or a wart or anything like that, this is a related type of virus, and it's really easy to pick up. The point is, you don't know necessarily that you've got it, and your body normally gets rid of it — it deals with it, and it gets rid of it. However, for reasons not fully understood in guys over 40, it can persist, and in a proportion of those guys, the persistence can turn into cancer."

Dickinson also addressed some of the recent headlines that suggested he may have gotten tongue cancer from performing oral sex on women. He said: "I raised it the other day in an interview, and, of course, there were some really stupid, predictable headlines saying things that I did not in fact say. But the idea was not to give people the opportunity to [write] stupid headlines. I suppose it was probably naïve of me to raise the topic, but the idea was to make guys my age aware, if you get a lump in your neck, don't ignore it. Don't think it's antibiotics. If it doesn't go away, go see a doc. Even medical professionals, some of them are unaware of this kind of thing. I mean, a buddy of mine has just been diagnosed with this. Age 52, happily married, a fashion photographer, scared out of his wits, was misdiagnosed twice before somebody finally went, 'Hey, buddy. No no no no. You don't have a little cyst. You've got tongue cancer.'"

While most strains of HPV clear up on their own, the sexually transmitted virus is responsible for an array of cancers.

The Huffington Post reported in 2013 that oral sex is an avenue through which a person can contract HPV and especially the strains HPV-18 and HPV-16, the latter of which is responsible for half of oral cancer cases, according to the National Cancer Institute. HPV-16, HPV-18 and some less-common strains can also cause cancers of the cervix, vagina, vulva, anus and penis.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 79 million Americans are currently infected with HPV and approximately 14 million people become newly infected each year, making it the most common sexually transmitted infection in the nation.

IRON MAIDEN's new album, "The Book Of Souls", was released on September 4 through BMG in the U.S.A. (Parlophone Records in the rest of world).

The band announced in May that touring plans to support the album wouldn't happen until 2016 to allow Dickinson time to fully recuperate after his successful cancer treatment.

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