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Ronnie Wood declined chemotherapy for lung cancer: 'This hair wasn’t going anywhere'

Ronnie Wood © PA Images

Ronnie Wood has spoken about being diagnosed with lung cancer earlier this year.

Back in May, The Rolling Stones guitarist revealed that he had successfully undergone keyhole surgery to have a lesion removed from his lung after it was discovered at a routine check-up.

Now, in a fresh interview with Event magazine, Ronnie has revealed that he had a “touch of lung cancer” and said if it spread he wouldn’t have put himself through chemotherapy.

Explaining that the discovery came about when doctors asked him if he wanted a more extensive bodily check-up, Ronnie said: “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.’”

"I said go for it and then he came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung.

“And to be totally honest, I wasn't surprised… He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple, 'Just get it out of me.'"


Ronnie and Sally Wood © PA Images

Ronnie continued: “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.”

Reflecting upon the lengthy medical tests, Ronnie added: “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 whether this was because he believed that chemotherapy wouldn’t work, Ronnie responded: “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.’”

Now in good health, Ronnie says he now has a thorough check-up every three months: “They caught it early. 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 Rolling Stones are playing a series of stadiums across Europe this September and October on their ‘Stones – No Filter’ tour.

Shortly after the shows were announced, the band released a short statement on Twitter confirming UK dates are in the pipeline next year.

They wrote: “Sorry to our UK fans there are no UK dates on this run due to lack of available venues because of sporting fixtures. Hope to be here in 2018.”

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