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Photo by: Dave Mustaine | Twitter: @DaveMustaine

Megadeth singer and guitarist Dave Mustaine announced on social media Monday night that he has been diagnosed with throat cancer. Mustaine famously began his career as the first lead guitarist in Metallica before leaving to co-founded Megadeth.

“I’ve been diagnosed with throat cancer. It’s clearly something to be respected and faced head on – but I’ve faced obstacles before,” said Mustaine. “I’m working closely with my doctors and we’ve mapped out a treatment plan which they feel has a 90% success rate.”

Mustaine’s diagnosis is not uncommon. In 2019, it is estimated that there will be 12,410 new cases of laryngeal (throat) cancer. Common signs and symptoms of throat cancer may include:

  • Sore throat
  • Painful swallowing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness
  • Ear pain
  • Severe weight loss
  • Neck mass
Dr. J. Trad Wadsworth

Dr. J. Trad Wadsworth, Head and Neck-Endocrine Oncology


“Any sign or symptom of throat cancer that lasts more than two weeks without improvement should be evaluated by a physician”, says Dr. Trad Wadsworth, vice chair of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Head and Neck-Endocrine Oncology Department. Tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption and a diet low in fruits and vegetables put individuals at a greater risk for throat cancer.

Because of Mustaine’s treatment, Megadeth will have to cancel most of their 2019 performances honoring the band’s 35th anniversary.