Ronnie Wood opens up on his cancer scare

Ronnie Wood with his Rolling Stones bandmates
Ronnie Wood with his Rolling Stones bandmates

Ronnie Wood has spoken about his cancer scare which resulted in him having a lesion on his lung removed earlier this year.

The Rolling Stones guitarist revealed that he had undergone successful keyhole surgery in May and required no further treatment. And he now reports that if it was found that the cancer had spread, he wouldn’t have put his body through chemotherapy.

Wood tells the Event magazine: “There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains – time to say goodbye. You never know what is going to happen.

“I had this thought at the back of my mind after I gave up smoking a year ago, ‘How can I have got through 50 years of chain-smoking, and all the rest of my bad habits, without something going on in there?’

“So I went along to see our good old doctor, Richard Dawood, because we all have to be checked before we go on tour. He asked me if I wanted him to go deeper and check my heart, lungs and blood. I said, ‘Go for it.’”

Wood says he wasn’t surprised when they discovered something on his left lung and adds: “But then there was a week of tests. They needed to know if it had set up encampments and spread to my lymph nodes. If that had happened it would have been all over for me.

“I was prepared for bad news but I also had faith it would be OK. I made up my mind that if it had spread I wasn’t going to go through chemo, I wasn’t going to use that bayonet in my body.”

Asked if that was because he felt chemotherapy wouldn’t work, Wood replies: “No. It’s more I wasn’t going to lose my hair. This hair wasn’t going anywhere. I said, ‘No way.’ I just kept the faith it would be all right.

“A week later they came back with the news that it hadn’t spread and I said, ‘Let’s get it out now.’ Just before I closed my eyes for the operation I looked at the doctor and said, ‘Let battle commence.’”

Wood says he’s doing well but is being checked every three months. “They caught it early,” he says. “People have to get checked. I was bloody lucky but then I’ve always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me. By rights I shouldn’t be here.”

The guitarist will launch his new book titled Ronnie Wood: Artist on August 21. It details the paintings, drawings and sculptures he’s created over the years and is being released to mark his 70th birthday.

The Rolling Stones will head out on the No Filter European tour from September. The band previously ruled out the possibility of UK dates due to the lack of suitable venues, but said they hoped to play in 2018.

Find a list of tour dates below.

The Rolling Stones No Filter 2017 European tour dates

Sep 09: Hamburg Stadtpark, Germany
Sep 12: Munich Olympic Stadium, Germany
Sep 16: Spielberg At Red Bull Ring, Austria
Sep 20: Zurich Letzigrund Stadium, Switzerland
Sep 23: Lucca Summer Festival-City Walls, Italy
Sep 27: Barcelona Olympic Stadium, Spain
Sep 30:Amsterdam ArenA, Netherlands
Oct 03: Copenhagen Parken Stadium, Denmark
Oct 09: Dusseldorf Esprit Arena, Germany
Oct 12: Stockholm Friends Arena, Sweden
Oct 15: Arnhem GelreDome, Netherlands
Oct 19: Paris U Arena, France
Oct 22: Paris U Arena, France

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Scott Munro
Louder e-commerce editor

Scott has spent 35 years in newspapers, magazines and online as an editor, production editor, sub-editor, designer, writer and reviewer. Scott joined our news desk in the summer of 2014 before moving to the e-commerce team in 2020. Scott keeps Louder’s buyer’s guides up to date, writes about the best deals for music fans, keeps on top of the latest tech releases and reviews headphones, speakers, earplugs and more. Over the last 10 years, Scott has written more than 11,000 articles across Louder, Classic Rock, Metal Hammer and Prog. He's previously written for publications including IGN, the Sunday Mirror, Daily Record and The Herald newspapers, covering everything from daily news and weekly features, to tech reviews, video games, travel and whisky. Scott's favourite bands are Fields Of The Nephilim, The Cure, New Model Army, All About Eve, The Mission, Cocteau Twins, Drab Majesty, Marillion and Rush.