Thunder rocker Ben Matthews is taking an extended hiatus from the British band to undergo treatment for cancer.

The guitarist was sidelined last month (Jun14) while he was having his tonsils removed, but during the procedure, doctors discovered cancerous cells in the tissue and now Matthews is facing a bigger health battle.

Breaking the news to fans in a message on Thunder's Facebook.com page, the stars write: "As you will remember Ben had his tonsils removed a while ago. Unfortunately, the surgeon found some 'extra' matter attached to one of them, and after some tests, it was subsequently found to be malignant. In effect, he has cancer, and needs treatment, which will mean a course of both radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

"Whilst the treatment is not pleasant, we're told the percentage chances of a happy outcome are 'in the high 90s'. We'll update you when we have some more news. In the meantime please join us in wishing him well."

Musician Peter Shoulder has stepped in to temporarily replace Matthews in the Thunder line-up.