Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain gives laryngeal cancer warning

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain is warning people not to ignore unexplained changes to their voice after he was given a shock diagnosis of laryngeal cancer.

The 70-year-old has revealed he successfully fought the disease in 2020, and he has joined up with the medical team that treated him to explain the symptoms to look out for.

McBrain tells the University of Miami's Inventum publication: “When you are lying down in a quiet room and you speak and hear your voice in your head and have a cold, you sound different.

"This happened to me. I thought this is very reminiscent — this different sounding voice of mine — to when I finish a tour or after a show. I didn’t have a cold or any symptoms of illness at all. I started to feel that I was clearing my throat more when I was in conversations. So, I just took it on myself to call my doctor.”

McBrain explains that his hoarse, post-tour voice is down to his enthusiastic screaming while playing his kit. He adds: “When I play drums with the band, I actually sort of scream and yell while I play, like a Judo guy slapping the mat."

McBrain's doctor referred him to the experts at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center, who diagnosed stage 1 laryngeal cancer. He was treated at the Florida facility soon after and his cancer is now in remission. He gets regular check ups to ensure it hasn't returned.

He adds: “I thoroughly recommend that anyone who may feel there is something different with their voice to go and get it checked out. And don’t put it off. It was very good for me that I caught it in stage 1."

Dr David E. Rosow, who treated McBrain, says: “Anyone who is experiencing a voice change that lasts longer than three weeks should see an otolaryngologist who can evaluate a person’s vocal folds.

"Many cases present with a voice change like Nicko's and often when the tumor is as small as one to two millimeters, which makes the tumour easier to completely remove. The prognosis with early (stage 1) tumours is excellent, with published cure rates of 95% and up.”

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Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.