Dave Mustaine wasn't going to let cancer impact his guitar playing after a doctor told him he would lose "80 per cent use of his arm" to a previous hand injury.

In 2002, the Megadeth rocker suffered nerve damage after falling asleep with his left arm over the back of a chair, and one doctor told him he would never be able to play his beloved instrument again.

Not willing to give up hope, Mustaine sought a second opinion and started on a course of shock therapy, and has continued to play ever since.

The 60-year-old musician was diagnosed with throat cancer in the summer of 2019 - but was declared "100 per cent cancer-free" in October of that year.

And although he still has some "nerve damage" and his arm makes a clicking noise, Mustaine hasn't let the injury he sustained two decades ago or his cancer stop him from axe-slaying.

Speaking to the latest issue of Guitar World magazine, Mustaine said: "I had to wear these crazy contraptions, and there's still a little bit of damage to the arm.

"But having 80 per cent use of my arm and never playing again versus shredding my a** off and having a little clicking sound ... Yeah, it's a good thing I started with a piece-of-s*** car.

"I'm used to all kinds of clicks and cracks when I drive.

"So, having made it through that, I was pretty sure I wasn't going to let cancer affect the way I played."

Dave also insisted he's never been afraid of dying, even after he died briefly when he overdosed on Valium in 1993.

He said: "I never thought I was going to die because I had already died once before.

"And even though I knew I was really sick, I wasn't scared because I wasn't afraid of dying.

"I was ready [just in case I didn't make it].

"It's very comforting when you get to that place in your life where you're so happy and you're so full of love that you're ready.

"You've made peace with everything and everyone.

And that if your time is now - today - it's okay.

"If that happened, I would have peace with that and be ready to go."