Megadeth frontman on cancer battle: 'I'm not gonna let this beat me'

Dave Mustaine of Megadeth performs at The O2 Arena in London on June 16, 2018.

Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine was surprised by the outpouring of support he received after he went public with his cancer diagnosis earlier this year.

"A lot came from people that I knew but I didn't know cared," he recently told Rolling Stone magazine. "Most notably, I got a text message back from my old brother, (Metallica frontman) James Hetfield, and I was so, so happy to hear from him."

Mustaine was a member of Metallica from 1981 to 1983.

He is battling squamous cell carcinoma on the base of his tongue which was discovered after complaining of tooth pain to a dentist. He's had some bad days, but has wrapped up a course of treatment and is gearing up for a concert tour this winter which he said he's excited about.

Changed mindset

"I figured, I'm not gonna let (cancer) beat me," he told the publication. "I'm not gonna let this even scare me."

Keeping a positive attitude about his health is part of the singer's plan to get better.

"I'm not letting the cancer get me down," he said. "I have to thank the fans and obviously my family and God but there was no way I was going to let this take me down."

Mustaine said that when Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was diagnosed with cancer he wept and believed the musician would die. That caused him to believe that he wouldn't survive his bout with cancer, a mindset he says he's changed to "I have to beat this."

"No matter what, there's no way I'm gonna act like I can't do this," Mustaine said. "I can do anything if I set my mind to it.

CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the spelling of Megadeth.