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Van Halen Member Has Cancer—and a Theory

Eddie Van Halen has been flying to Germany for treatments
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 13, 2019 3:30 PM CDT
David Lee Roth, left, and Eddie Van Halen of Van Halen perform at the Nikon at Jones Beach Theater on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2015, in Wantagh, N.Y.   (Photo by Greg Allen/Invision/AP)

(Newser) – Legendary rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen has traveled to Germany for years to treat his throat cancer—for which he has an unusual explanation, TMZ reports. "I used metal picks—they're brass and copper—which I always held in my mouth, in the exact place where I got the tongue cancer," he said at a Van Halen performance, per the Mirror. "Plus, I basically live in a recording studio that's filled with electromagnetic energy. So that's one theory. I mean, I was smoking and doing a lot of drugs and a lot of everything. But at the same time, my lungs are totally clear."

Diagnosed in 2000, Van Halen apparently had roughly 1/3 of his tongue taken out and occasionally had cancer cells scraped out of his throat after they migrated there. Some sources say he's been flying to Germany for five years of radiation treatments, which have mostly worked. But was it really the guitar pick? "This is just my own theory, but the doctors say it’s possible," he said. (Read more cancer stories.)

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