'Rolling' Through Cancer
- The Rolling Stones band member Ronnie Wood, 75, was seen inside a Rolling Stones-themed store signing prized memorabilia.
- Wood battled lung cancer twice after doctors found a legion during a checkup.
- Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S.
- Lung cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms until it has already spread outside the lungs, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
- Smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
Ronnie Wood, 75, of the famed music group The Rolling Stones is still bringing joy to lifelong fans: After beating cancer twice, Wood appeared happy and healthy as he autographed a “Stones Tongue” statue in a London-based Rolling Stones-themed store.
Wood took over Rolling Stone store number nine in London to the delight of fans. The store features original guitarscape prints, limited edition one-off painted Fender Stratocaster guitars, and a capsule apparel collection.
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The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer has spent time recently showcasing guitars and other prized Rolling Stones possessions across social media and pop-up exhibits.
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Wood and fellow band members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, have had a cultural impact on the world through their music. Musicians Charlie Watts, Brian Jones, Ian Stewart, Billy Wyman, and Mick Taylor were also part of the legendary band over the years.
The group etched a mark in the music industry after forming in 1962. They’ve been active for six decades and sold more than 240 million records, according to Forbes.
Some of their hit songs are baked into Western culture, including “Gimme Shelter,” “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction,” and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
Wood joined the Rolling Stones as the group’s guitarist in 1975. He is a two-time Rock and Roll Hall of Famer with both the Rolling Stones and the Faces.
In his personal life, he is married to his wife Sally and has six children.
Wood’s Cancer Journey
Wood’s first cancer battle came about following a routine checkup with his doctor. A “cancerous legion” was found CNN reported. He had emphysema on the top lobe of one of his lungs. The condition causes shortness of breath according to the Mayo Clinic.
In 2017, he underwent a five-hour operation to remove part of his lung to remove the cancer.
“Luckily, all mine was contained within the left lung, and I was fortunate enough to get shot of it, bang. There was none in the rest of my body, so I didn’t require chemo,” he told the U.K.-based news outlet, The Times.
He admitted he was a heavy smoker for 50 years. He went through 25 cigarettes a day before quitting the habit in 2016. The birth of his two youngest children helped prompt his lifestyle change.
After beating his first bout with cancer in 2018, Wood was diagnosed again with small-cell carcinoma in 2020.
“Sure enough, when I had recovered from the lung cancer, I was invaded by the worst kind of cancer. It’s called small-cell,” Wood said on an episode of Ireland’s “The Late Late Show.”
Small-cell carcinoma (also called small-cell lung cancer) is one of the main types of lung cancer and tends to be more aggressive.
“I had to have really heavy chemo and radiation and they said they’d given me a year’s worth of medication in three weeks and my body just jumped to defense,” Wood said.
During his cancer treatment, Wood took to painting to help him cope.
“Art therapy was self-imposed in a way, especially in [coronavirus] lockdown. The art has got me through it – to express and get lost. I’d be painting (the twins) all the time if I could, but it’s amazing to be with them and just observe, soak it in that way,” he shared with The U.S. Sun.
He credits positive thinking, his art, music, and the support of loved ones to help him through his cancer journey — and that’s an approach our own experts love to see!
After he completed his treatments for small-cell carcinoma, he said his doctor gave him the “all clear.”
Throughout his cancer journey, Wood never stopped making music. In 2019, he performed “Johnny B. Goode” with fellow musician Imelda May.
“Always loved his talent, whether he’s with the Stones or Rod, this guy just shines through! ❤️” one of Wood’s fans wrote on Instagram.
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Wood is not the only Stones member to face cancer. Drummer Charlie Watts died when he was 80 in 2021. Richards claimed that “throat cancer…eventually took his life,” the U.S. Sun reported.
Understanding Lung Cancer
Lung cancer is the second most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in both men and women in the U.S. SurvivorNet experts say. It forms when cancer cells develop in the tissues of the lung.
Lung cancer often doesn’t cause symptoms until it has already spread outside the lungs, according to SurvivorNet’s experts.
There are two main types of lung cancer, which doctors group together based on how they act and how they’re treated:
- Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most common type and makes up about 85% of cases
- Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is less common, but it tends to grow faster than NSCLC and is treated very differently
Smoking causes most cases of this cancer. Tobacco smoke contains a mixture of more than 7,000 different chemicals, at least 70 of which are known to cause cancer, the CDC reports.
If you quit smoking, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease and dying from it.
Expert Lung Cancer Resources
Some people with lung cancer do have symptoms, such as:
- A cough that doesn’t go away, that gets worse, or that brings up bloody phlegm
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Hoarse voice
- Appetite loss
- Weight loss
WATCH: Surgical Options for Lung Cancer
Treatment options for lung cancer depend on its type, its location, and its staging. In general, treatment methods include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, targeted therapy, or a combination of any of these treatments.
Learn more about SurvivorNet's rigorous medical review process.