Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden revealed that his tongue cancer was caused by HPV, the sexually transmitted virus, during a recent radio interview.

Bruce Dickinson Claims HPV Caused His Cancer

Dickinson, who was recently given a clean bill of health following his fight with stage 3 tongue cancer, told Opie Radio on Tuesday that the human papillomavirus (HPV) had caused his cancer. Dickinson recounted how he first found a lump on his neck that was later diagnosed as cancer, and claimed that his cancer was caused by HPV. The claim is not dissimilar to those made by Michael Douglas, who flippantly said that his cancer had been caused by HPV contracted through “cunnilingus.”

“Everybody went, ‘Ha ha ha ha’ [about Douglas], but in actual fact, the thing about the HPV virus is people don’t know a great deal about it,” Dickinson said.

Unlike Douglas, however, Dickinson refrained from suggesting which sex act might have resulted in him contracting HPV. In fact, HPV, a sexually transmitted infection, can be spread through a handful of different acts, not just oral sex, as Douglas hinted. And, HPV has been shown to cause multiple cancers, including cervical cancer and cancer of the tongue and tonsils.

Dickinson also revealed that he avoided going to the doctor to get diagnosed when he first found the lump on his throat. “I ignored what I thought I had, or what I thought I possibly might have, cause I was still finishing the album. …I had a lump in the side of my neck — kind of like when you get a cold,” Dickinson said.

In a separate interview, Dickinson implored men not to discount HPV or any health concerns. “Everybody makes jokes about Michael Douglas 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,” Dickinson said.

Dickinson is currently promoting Iron Maiden’s newest album, The Book of Souls — their first in five years. The band plans on going on tour next year, after Dickinson is fully recovered.