During the recent interview with Syöpäjärjestöt from Finland, Dickinson talked about the connection of his cancer and oral sex.
He said: “It’s silly why there’s such a stigma about it. Because if [someone asked you], ‘What cancer did you get?’ if you said, ‘I’ve got squamous cell carcinoma,’ people go, ‘Oh, what’s that?’ And you say, ‘It’s cervical cancer.’ ‘Oh, it’s the same thing.’ ‘Yup. So I’ve got cervical cancer of the throat.’ There you go. ‘Cause the cells are the same.”
He continued: “If a woman gets cervical cancer — which is a terrible thing — but if a woman did get cervical cancer, nobody goes around saying, ‘Aha! It’s because you are a woman and you are a bad person,’ or, ‘You were naughty,’ or, ‘You are having sex.’ Duh! It’s what people do. Otherwise the human race would be extinct. So it’s kind of hypocritical of the press — certain elements in the press — to go on about it. They’re like kind of pathetic schoolboys. ‘Oral sex? Uhhh.’ It’s pathetic. Probably 80 percent of the human race has been exposed to human papillomavirus. And what everybody should be doing is saying, how can we find out more about why, first of all, it can cause cancers in some people and not in others?; why in men over 40 suddenly there’s an epidemic; and why there’s no test in men — simple, easy test, like the smear test in women.”
According to Bruce, throat cancer has a high survival rate, and those diagnosed can continue treatment to prolong their life and slow the progression of the disease.
“Almost a hundred percent, I would say, of throat cancers in guys aged over 40 are HPV,” he said. “And the good news is it’s very treatable. The good news is it’s almost a different disease to any other kind of throat cancer, or even any other kind of cancer — it’s really specific. The bad news is by the time you get diagnosed, it’s probably Stage 3 and you went in to the doctor because you had a lump in your lymph node, and so it’s already spread a little bit. But that’s kind of almost everybody — almost everybody.”
He continued: “As my oncologist said to me… ‘Cause I went on Google and researched everything. It was, like, ‘Ahhh! My God! It’s Stage 3! Next thing is Stage 4 and then it’s a coffin.’ And he went, ‘Calm down. It’s an academic way of classifying cancers.’ He said, ‘Honestly, I’d rather have Stage 3 of your cancer than Stage 1 of lung cancer.’ And I went, ‘Oh, okay.’ I mean, my father died of lung cancer, and it wasn’t very pleasant in his last days, although he was still up and about and functioning up to the last two or three days, really.
“The advances now, particularly in something like cancer, are incredible in terms of gene therapies and specific therapies now. So, I think, over the course of the next five to 10 years, the advances are going to be immense for those difficult-to-treat cancers.”