Bruce Dickinson
Bruce Dickinson has performed with Iron Maiden for the past 40 yearsGetty

Bruce Dickinson, the lead singer of legendary British heavy metal group Iron Maiden, has revealed he has been battling with cancer.

The band revealed in a statement on their official website that Dickinson, 56, was diagnosed with a cancerous tumour on his tongue and has undergone a seven-week course of chemotherapy.

The band say the singer is expected to make a full recovery and is currently doing very well "considering the circumstances".

Iron Maiden are scheduled to begin a European tour at the end of May 2015, but are requesting their fans "be patient".

The group added: "Just before Christmas, Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson visited his doctor for a routine check-up. This led to tests and biopsies which revealed a small cancerous tumour at the back of his tongue. A seven week course of chemotherapy and radiology treatment was completed yesterday.

"As the tumour was caught in the early stages, the prognosis thankfully is extremely good. Bruce's medical team fully expect him to make a complete recovery with the all clear envisaged by late May. It will then take a further few months for Bruce to get back to full fitness.

"In the meantime we would ask for your patience, understanding and respect for Bruce and his family's privacy until we update everyone by the end of May. Bruce is doing very well considering the circumstances and the whole team are very positive."