“‘There was a week when everything hung in the balance and it could have been curtains – time to say goodbye,” the 70-year-old rocker told Mail on Sunday’s Event Magazine. “You never know what is going to happen.”
Wood, who gave up smoking one year ago when his twin daughters were born, told Event he was skeptical he could escape 50 years of chain smoking unscathed. When he went to the doctor in May, he asked for a more in-depth check up. The doctor told Wood he had found cancer in the guitarist’s lung. After a week of tests, it was determined that the cancer had not spread.
“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,” Wood told Event about his week of waiting to find out if the cancer had metastasized. He also said he was concerned about what would happen to his legendary locks if he had to undergo chemotherapy.
And while he opted out of chemo, he did have part of his lung removed.
Woods told Event that he is better now, but will still have a check-up every three months.
“I was bloody lucky, but then I’ve always had a very strong guardian angel looking out for me,” he said. “By rights, I shouldn’t be here.”
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Write to Alana Abramson at Alana.Abramson@time.com