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Rock News

DAVE MUSTAINE On His Cancer Battle: 'It's Been A Real Eye-Opening Experience'

todayMay 2, 2022

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MEGADETH frontman Dave Mustaine, who was diagnosed with throat cancer in May 2019, spoke to Full Metal Jackie‘s nationally syndicated radio show about how his battle with the disease has affected the way he approaches his life, both on and off the stage. He said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): “Well, obviously, there’s a diet, there’s the food sources and liquids and how they affect my blood, my sugar in my blood, the dairy stuff in my blood. But I’ve never really worried too much about that ’cause I kind of have just gone out there and screamed my point across. So I think that that’s one thing that as I try and live a cleaner life because of the cancer…

“I’m cancer-free now, thank God,” he continued. “I just went and saw my radiologist and he told me October [2019] was the month that they had said that I was cancer-free. So I’m coming up on, I think it’s three years now.

“I don’t even think about it anymore. But it was something that made me take into consideration life in general, not so much what I do when I get onstage but just how much do I really appreciate the people around me? How much do I have a capacity in my heart to tolerate people that get on my nerves? Am I gonna send somebody away mad at each other and never see ’em again?

“It’s been a real eye-opening experience,” Mustaine explained. “And I just noticed on TV, too, that they’re starting to do commercials about this type of cancer. And I’d never seen this before in my life and now I’m seeing it on TV. And I’m thinking, ‘Wow, this is crazy.’ They used to never have these kind of massive sicknesses like this where you have television commercials about throat cancer. It used to be just cancer, cancer, cancer — not into specifics like this. Now you know something really weird’s happening. And it happens to a lot of people, I’m told. So I would just encourage people to be healthy, kick ass, take down names. And if you’re an adult male and you have any respect for yourself and the people around you that love you, go get yourself checked up.”

When Jackie pointed out that guys generally do not like going to the doctor to get themselves checked out, Mustaine said: “I think that’s the whole tough-guy attitude. There’s a stigmatism that if you go to a doctor, they’re gonna stick something up your butt, and I think that’s one of the worst things that people misconstrue. It’s not always, ‘Hey, turn your head and cough.’ I suggest if you go in for a sore throat and he checks your ass, you’re in the wrong place, dude.”

The 60-year-old MEGADETH guitarist/vocalist revealed his cancer battle in June 2019 on social media, saying the doctors had given him a 90 percent chance of beating the illness.

Mustaine addressed his cancer battle during MEGADETH‘s concert in January 2020 at The SSE Arena in London, England. Speaking to the crowd before launching into the title track of MEGADETH‘s latest album, “Dystopia”, he said: “About a year ago, we were working on our new album back in Franklin, Tennessee, and I started to feel some pain over here [points to his throat]. So I went to the doctor and he said, ‘Dave, you have cancer.’ And I went, ‘Fuck! I have cancer.’ And I was so shocked.”

He continued: “At first, I thought, ‘Am I afraid?’ And then I said, ‘No. I’m fucking pissed.’ And we stopped the record; we stopped everything. I went into treatment for cancer. It was 51 radiation treatments and nine chemo treatments. And when it was all said and done, every day I would think, ‘I can’t face not playing again. I can’t face not playing again.’ So I would pray. I know a lot of you guys know that I pray. I say that in [the MEGADETH song] ‘Peace Sells’. I pray every day. I say that in the song. I’ve said it since the second record. But I thought about you guys every day too. And I thought about my family. And I got this power from you guys. And I just kept thinking about it. And on October 16th [2019], I went to go see the doctor, and he said, ‘You’re 100 percent free of cancer.'”

In an interview with Rolling Stone, Mustaine credited the support he received from fans and friends with getting him through the treatment. He said: “A lot came from people that I knew but I didn’t know cared. Most notably, I got a text message back from my old brother, James Hetfield [METALLICA], and I was so, so happy to hear from him. Contrary to what anybody says and contrary to any of the act that we put on, I love James and I know that James loves me and cares about me. You can see that when the moment of truth is here and I’m telling the world that I’ve got a life-threatening disease. Who comes to stand next to me? James. And I got a text message from Ozzy [Osbourne], and one from Paul Stanley [KISS]. It was great to get one from Ozzy; I didn’t expect it from Paul Stanley. That was super bitchin’ because in the beginning, when KISS first came out, I was just a kid and I loved them.

“I’m really grateful for everybody. Even the people who have a hard time with my behavior and my big mouth, I’m just so grateful for them showing care for me. Like they say, at the end of the day, all we’ve got is each other here in this crazy metal community.”

Written by: lpcountry

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