Speaking to Metal Hammer, Mustaine revealed he underwent a whopping 51 sessions of radiation treatment and nine chemotherapy sessions after being diagnosed last year, before revealing on stage while touring with Five Finger Death Punch that he was officially cancer-free.
“My last treatment was in September and I made plenty of time to rest, exercise and eat right before we went back out on tour,” he told the publication. “We did 22 dates overseas, and I feel great now, except for the fatigue. But I think a lot of that might be due to um, extracurricular activities. Staying up late. Not sleeping. Maybe a little, you know… [puts thumb and forefinger to his lips and inhales]”
Mustaine went on to say that he believes using marijuana throughout his cancer treatment helped deal with the unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, such as helping with being able to eat and swallow.
“I think the world is just now finding out the beauty of cannabis and everything it can do for you. I hear people talk how it’s good for cancer patients. C’mon, it’s good for any fucking patient! The radiation zapped my salivary glands so I couldn’t make spit, which made it really hard to swallow and get food down,” he explained.
“They gave me this crazy mouthwash to use that had Benadryl and lidocaine in it, but I still couldn’t eat. So cannabis helped with that, except I got a terrible craving for kiddie cereal. I went to the store and got, like, 20 boxes.”
He added, “Trix with marshmallows. Froot Loops with marshmallows. Frosted Flakes. The kind with little marshmallows. You get the idea. My cancer team told me to try and watch the sugar intake, but they said, ‘Dave, if you can eat – then eat.’”
Mustaine has previously voiced his support for medicinal cannabis, tweeting in 2016: “Vote state-by-state.”
Medical Cannabis should be legalized asap, but recreational weed is a totally different story. Vote state-by-state https://t.co/Y64AvDWkgQ
— Dave Mustaine (@DaveMustaine) April 20, 2016
While undergoing cancer treatment of any form is undoubtedly hellish, Mustaine admitted there was one benefit from going through treatment for the disease.
“The cool thing is, my voice came back even better than before. I think the treatment shrunk whatever was on my vocal cord that was making it hard to sing,” he said.
“I’d seen pictures of my voice box and there was some kind of bubble on the flap that was giving me trouble. Cyst, tumour, nodule, whatever the fuck it was. But that’s gone now, and they say long as I don’t do anything stupid, I should be good for the rest of my career.”
He gave one final piece of advice for fans, urging them to reconsider living a fast-paced life without any regard for their health, saying, “I know once you get cancer you’re never really out of the woods, but if the process doesn’t scare you into changing your lifestyle, then shame on you.”