Wilko Johnson discusses cancer recovery: ‘I shouldn’t be here at all’

Dr Feelgood guitarist was told he had 10 months to live

Wilko Johnson has spoken about his recovery from pancreatic cancer on the Radio 2 Chris Evans Breakfast show, saying “I shouldn’t be here at all”.

The Dr Feelgood guitarist, who was told he had 10 months to live at the beginning of 2013, discussed setting out to create his final album with the The Who‘s Roger Daltrey on the show. “This idea of doing a record with Roger was something we’d talked about a couple of years ago, but never came together,” he said. “Then when Roger heard I’d got cancer he said, ‘We’ll do that record’ and I said, ‘We better do it quick!'”

Recalling what he believed was his final year, as well as his miraculous life-saving operation, Johnson said: “I had a marvellous year last year, there’s nothing like the imminence of death to make you realise you’re alive.

“And then right on top of that, the surgeons at Addenbrooke’s [hospital] decided that they could have a go at this tumour, and they did.

“I think it took about 10 or 11 hours or something and they took this tumour out of me. This tumour weighed three kilos, that’s the size of a baby. I’d been carrying this thing on stage with me all year, my guitar used to stick out. My guitar used to rock on this tumour. Rocking away like a rocker! So, no, I shouldn’t be here at all.”

The guitarist, whose wife passed away from cancer 10 years ago, added that his health is slowly recovering. “I’m getting my strength and my weight back. The difficult thing is now readjusting mentally,” he said.

Johnson revealed that he had been “cured” of cancer last month after undergoing an operation in April. His album with Roger Daltrey titled ‘Going Back Home’ was released in March of this year.