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Talker Al Gardner Battles Prostate Cancer.

by Tara Servatius

NewsTalk 1110 WBTs Al Gardner, who anchors the Charlotte stations morning drive news show, is fighting his battle with high risk prostate cancer in public. Were it not for a friend who urged him to get tested in 2010, Gardner, 64, might not be here. A prostate screening test score of 3 or 4 would be cause for concern. When Gardner had his prostate checked in 2007, his was a 10, which should have set off full-scale alarms. But his doctor somehow missed the test results in his file and three years passed while the cancer festered before a friend convinced him to have it checked again. By then his score had rocketed to the 32, so high that normally by that point cancer has spread throughout your body. Doctors had prepared Gardner and his wife for the worst, so everyone was shocked when tests came back indicating the cancer hadnt spread.

Gardner and his doctors credit his semi-extreme exercise regime for keeping the cancer at bay. A recent Harvard study showed that hard core exercise at least three times a week think shirt soaking, for at least an hour can reverse or halt the spread of cancer. Thats not a walk that makes you sweat, says Gardner. Gardner does a punishing boxing workout three times a week and runs three to six miles three other days a week. He recently ran a half marathon. Cancer hates exercise, Gardner says. Exercise saved my life.

In the beginning, Gardner kept his diagnosis to himself. He says he does a straight news style of talk radio, where he isnt supposed to inject his opinion, so making himself the story felt odd. But a friend convinced him to start telling the story to motivate men 40 and over to get checked. If he could get just one person to get checked, it would be worth it. Since then, he has opened up about his cancer battle in the local newspaper and for television cameras. Im not the story, Gardner says. The next person who gets checked is the story.

Gardner gets worked up about the politics around frequent PSA screenings, which are being phased out by the socialized healthcare systems in Europe to save money. Some in the medical community are pushing to do the same here, saying frequent screenings are unnecessary and lead to painful surgeries men could do without.  Gardner says he and his doctors vehemently disagree with this, and that the screenings saved his life.
Gardner recently had surgery to implant 58 microscopic radioactive particles to treat the cancer. He is optimistic about his prognosis going forward. 

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Tara Servatius was a drivetime News/Talk host at NewsTalk 1110 WBT in Charlotte. She was recently exiled.
Reach out to her at her website
Twitter Tara @TaraServatius

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