Radio host James Whale reveals cancer diagnosis

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James Whale entering the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2016Image copyright
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Whale has been absent from his nightly TalkRadio show for the past month

Veteran radio DJ James Whale has revealed he has cancer in his kidney, spine, brain and lungs.

The 69-year-old told The Sun he received the diagnosis two weeks ago. It comes 20 years after he had one kidney removed because of a tumour.

“It’s in my remaining kidney,” he said. “I’ve got a couple of small lesions in my lungs. I’ve got it in my spine. I’ve got it in my brain.”

Whale has hosted a nightly evening phone-in show on TalkRadio since 2016.

But the often controversial and confrontational host has been absent for the past month. He told The Sun he went to the doctor when he started forgetting names on air.

‘Really bad news’

“The woman looked worried and she said, ‘I’m so sorry. I’ve got really, really bad news for you. I’m afraid 20 years ago you had kidney cancer. Well, it looks like it’s probably come back. You’ve got a tumour on your kidney.’

“And I thought, ‘OK, well, 20 years later I’ll have to do all over again.’ And then she said, ‘I’m sorry. Sadly it’s spread. You’ve got small lesions in your brain and your lung, in your spine, in your pituitary gland.'”

He said he already had the tumour in his pituitary gland. He has been on immunotherapy and hormone replacement treatment, and is already feeling the benefits.

“I haven’t got a proper prognosis yet because it’s very early days, but this immunotherapy is a very new way of treating cancer – it gets the immune system to attack the tumours,” he said.

“I’m probably going to be on tablets for the rest of my life but I’ve gone from being like a little shrunken, old man in the chair who’s not eating and could hardly walk up the stairs, to where I can run upstairs.”

TV hosts Piers Morgan and Charlotte Hawkins, fellow TalkRadio presenters Julia Hartley-Brewer and Ian Collins, and Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage were among those sending well wishes.

After his initial experience of cancer, Whale set up the James Whale Fund for Kidney Cancer in 2006, which merged with Kidney Cancer UK in 2015.

Whale’s wife Melinda died of lung cancer two years ago.

The host came to prominence in the late 1980s as the host of The James Whale Radio Show, which was simultaneously broadcast on radio and TV, becoming a Friday night fixture on ITV until the mid-1990s.

In 1995, he moved to radio station TalkSport, but was fired in 2008 after calling on his listeners to vote for Boris Johnson in the London mayoral election. Regulator Ofcom ruled that was a serious breach of impartiality rules, and fined the station £20,000.

He then hosted the drivetime show for LBC and the breakfast show on BBC Essex, and took part in the 18th series of Celebrity Big Brother in 2016 alongside Christopher Biggins and Frankie Grande.

He joined TalkRadio three months later, being suspended for a spell in 2018 after an interview with a rape victim which the station said “completely lacked sensitivity”.

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