ENTERTAINMENT
03/09/2015 16:20 BST | Updated 03/09/2015 16:59 BST

Iron Maiden Singer Bruce Dickinson Says His Tongue Cancer Was Caused By Too Much Oral Sex

Iron Maiden’s lead singer Bruce Dickinson has said he believes his tongue cancer was caused by too much oral sex.

The rocker, who was given the all-clear from the disease earlier this year after weeks of chemotherapy, says it could have been the result of a sexually transmitted HPV (human papillomavirus).

The virus is passed on through oral sex with women, and now the 56-year-old is hoping to raise more awareness of the link between the two diseases.

bruce dickinson

Bruce Dickinson

In an interview with Jim Norton on Opie Radio, he 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 percent 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 percent 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."

It’s not the first time a star has spoken of the link between oral cancer and oral sex.

Michael Douglas, who also overcame tongue cancer, has previously said that that his illness could have been caused by the HPV virus transmitted by oral sex.

He told the Guardian: "Without wanting to get too specific this particular cancer is caused by HPV."

Douglas said: "I did worry if the stress caused by my son's incarceration didn't help trigger it.

"But yeah, it's a sexually transmitted disease that causes cancer."

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