Rolling Stones Rocker Ronnie Wood Reveals Lung Cancer Battle: ‘It Could Have Been Curtains’

Ronnie Wood is opening up about a terrifying health scare, revealing in an interview with the Mail on Sunday’s Event Magazine that he was diagnosed with lung cancer

The 70-year-old Rolling Stones guitarist — who says he quit smoking a week before he and wife Sally, 38, welcomed twins last year — tells Event: “I’ve had a fight with a touch of lung cancer. 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.”

Wood admits that he had been worrying that his hard-partying lifestyle over the years would catch up with him as he entered his seventh decade. “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?'”

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Wood learned of his cancer diagnosis while undergoing a physical before the Stones latest tour, revealing the doctor “asked me if I wanted him to go deeper and check my heart, lungs and blood. I said, ‘Go for it.'”

After completing tests, the results were not good. “And then he came back with the news that I had this supernova burning away on my left lung,” Wood says. “And, to be totally honest, I wasn’t surprised. I knew I hadn’t had a chest X-ray since I went into Cottonwood [a rehab clinic in Tucson, Arizona] in 2002. He asked me what I wanted to do and my answer was simple: “Just get it out of me.”

Luckily, the cancer had not spread from his lung, but he admits the period of waiting for test results was a terrible one. “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,” he says. “So there was this one week when I didn’t know what was happening. Sally [Humphreys, his wife of five years] was amazing. It’s only since we’ve got through it that she has been able to tell me how it was the worst seven days of her life.”

Had the cancer spread, Wood says he had already decided to forego chemotherapy. “I was prepared for bad news but I also had faith it would be OK,” he says. “Apart from the doctors, we didn’t tell anyone because we didn’t want to put anyone else though the hell we were going through. But 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.”

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There was another reason behind his desire to avoid chemo: he didn’t want to lose his iconic rooster-style hair. “This hair wasn’t going anywhere,” he quips.

After that horrible week, Wood received some good news. “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.’”

Looking back at his ordeal, Wood realizes how lucky he is. “Did I think I’d ever make it to see this?” he adds. “Hell no! Someone up there must like me. And luckily someone down here likes me too.”

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