Local deejay, radio personality, and notorious local salesperson Joe "Load" Leonard is now in the battle of his life. Recently, Joe was diagnosed with kidney cancer and for him, the treatment will be a bit complicated.

A few years back, Joe learned that he was born with only one kidney. What didn't seem to make much difference at the time, has turned into a much bigger issue with the recent cancer diagnosis.

Joe says he was getting treated for a back injury that included damaged vertebrae, pinched nerves, etc. About four weeks ago he received a regular shot that normally relieved the pain, but this time it didn't work.

Joe says that Paige, his Physician Assistant, did an MRI to check his back, which is when they found a lesion on his kidney. The pain, that he thought was coming from his lower back, was actually coming from his kidney.

After may scans, including a PET scan, he learned that he had cancer.

He has a 3 ½ inch tumor on the back side of his kidney where the veins and arteries meet.  He spoke to his doctor who explained that through surgery, they would attempt to remove the tumor and save the kidney. If doctors are unable to save the kidney, he'll have to rely on dialysis three days a week until he receives a kidney transplant.

“You’re not going to die from kidney cancer; it is the slowest moving cancer.”  The complication in this case makes it far from a cut-and-dry operation.

Meanwhile, as if matters weren't already difficult, he now has an infection, possibly from a bug bite, in his lower left leg.  It has now been classified as cellulitis.  He recently spent two days in the hospital and he's still being treated for the infection. He has been suffering at home since then. “Today waking up was the first time that it is actually feeling better.”

The American Cancer Society says that about 79,000 new cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year.  Of those cases approximately 50,290 cases are in men and 28,710 are in women.

Joe's surgery is scheduled for September 23rd, unless there is still an infection which would delay the surgery.

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"It's been a mental roller coaster to me," Joe said.

Joe said he decided to go public with his cancer to reinforce the importance of getting tested and early detection.

"I was lucky because it was the back pain that allowed me to catch the cancer early," he said. "It's so important not to procrastinate."

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