Joe Redner fighting stage 4 cancer to win

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Say what you want about Joe Redner; the man is a fighter.

"I was arrested 150 times or more. I had thousands of arrests in my clubs, thousands," he recalls.

Notoriety for Tampa's strip club king began in the 1970s. Police raided his clubs. 

"I dared, dared them to do it," he says.

Tampa City Council tried to zone him out of business. One of his toughest legal battles came in the 1990s when the city tried banning lap dances with the infamous 6-foot rule, which required dancers to keep their distance from patrons.

The battles kept Redner in the headlines and he says they also prepared him for the fight that came next: Stage 4 lung cancer.

He was diagnosed six years ago. A large tumor in his lung spread to a bone in his back. 

"They told me statistics like four percent of the people survive stage 4 lung cancer over five years but I never did think I was like anybody else," he states.

And Redner is beating the odds. Dr. Scott Antonia, of the Moffitt Cancer Center, says when Redner was diagnosed, the standard care was to give chemotherapy.

To boost survival odds he added radiation and a drug to block blood vessel growth.

In addition to the medical therapy, Dr. Antonia also credits Redner for his drive.

"He approached it with a positive fighting spirit that matters, he paid close attention to his diet, he didn't lose any weight that matters, he did aerobic exercise daily, and all of that mattered," Dr. Antonia said.

Redner believes there's something else that helped him beat the dismal odds.

"I did a lot of medical marijuana, it wasn't called medical marijuana because I had to buy it on the black market because I wasn't allowed," Redner says.

It helped him get through chemotherapy.

"It's like pins and needles in your body - you can't relax, you can't sleep, you can't think of anything else and the marijuana, you can just take it and feel yourself relax into your seat," he explains.

An effect that's set the stage for his next fight. He's applying to get a license to grow and distribute medical marijuana and suing the state of Florida so he can personally grow it at home to use for juicing.

"I want my rights, and I want to be healthy, and I think I'm the best judge, I don't know if everyone is the best judge of their health, but I'm the best judge of my health," he states.

Whether he's fighting city hall or battling cancer, Redner says his approach is the same.

"I don't lie, I don't cheat, I don't steal, something comes against me I fight it, I think that's what life is all about," he said.