Bruce Dickinson says that he covered his cancer battle in great detail in his autobiography partly because he wanted people "to know that it is possible" to beat the disease.
In "What Does This Button Do?", the IRON MAIDEN singer talked about how he overcame the "golf-ball"-sized growth on his tongue and endured radiation therapy that left the energetic frontman sapped of energy. The singer later revealed that the cancer was caused by HPV, the human papilloma virus, which can be contracted through oral sex.
Speaking to Australia's Beat magazine, Dickinson acknowledged that cancer is a subject that is difficult to discuss. "People tiptoe around the whole topic of cancer — it's one of those things that people are frightened of," he said.
"I do go over it in some detail [in the book]. Again, I view my disease with some quite black-humored moments, and I think people need to know that it is possible, first of all, to survive, and secondly, to view the whole process as something that you're going through.
"It's not personal, it's not the universe, it's not karma, it's not somebody's revenge on you; it's just shit that happens," he continued. "And I think when you can accept that, that goes a long way towards helping you to take a positive attitude towards the treatment.
"When I wrote the book, I had to make a decision on what my mental approach was towards this disease which, actually, is a part of me. I thought, I'm going to treat it like an uninvited guest that's walked into my body and go, 'Thank you very much. You had your chance. You had your twopence worth. Now please kindly leave the building. Bye. See you later.'
"I'm always a glass half full kind of guy," he explained. "I can nearly always figure out some way to put a positive on most things. There's very little sense in taking a negative attitude on things, because where do you go after that? You have to do something. It's living in the moment, which sounds easy to do but it's actually very hard to do."
A study, published in the Annals Of Internal Medicine, found that eleven million men and more than three million women in the United States had oral HPV infections. Among them, seven million men and around one and a half million women had strains that can cause cancers of the throat, tongue and other areas of the head and neck.
According to the Centers For Disease Control, about seventy-nine million Americans are currently infected with HPV and approximately fourteen million people become newly infected each year, making it the most common sexually transmitted infection in the nation.
"What Does This Button Do?", landed at No. 10 on the New York Times "Hardcover Nonfiction" best sellers list. It was released in the U.S. last October via Dey Street Books (formerly It Books), an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.
Dickinson joined IRON MAIDEN in 1981, replacing Paul Di'Anno, and made his recording debut with the band on the 1982 album "The Number Of The Beast". He quit the band in 1993, pursuing several solo projects, and rejoined in 1999.
Dickinson, who turned 60 last month, has several other interests beyond music. He is a licensed commercial pilot and owns an aviation company. He has written other books, done some acting and brewed beer.