Austin bank president shares about prostate cancer ordeal


by JIM BERGAMO / KVUE News and photojournalist Dennis Thomas and editor Kory Hill

Bio | Email | Follow: @JimB_KVUE

Posted on September 19, 2013 at 5:42 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 19 at 6:00 PM

AUSTIN -- September is Prostate Cancer Awareness month. It allows KVUE News to feature prominent men in the community who are survivors and want to share their message about the importance of regular checkups and early detection.

As the president and CEO of IBC Bank, 68-year-old Robert Barnes is used to getting a few compliments, but he's just happy to be making his rounds. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in February 2012.

"Nobody wants to hear that word," said Barnes. "When I was first diagnosed I was in denial for several days. 'It can't be me. This isn't fair.'"

Barnes thought is wasn't fair because he doesn't smoke nor drink, and he exercises regularly.

"I was a cyclist for many years," he said. "I eat right, so it simply couldn't happen to me, but it did. My message is, 'If it can happen to me, it can happen to anyone.'"

Dr. Robert Northway with Urology Austin says the incidence of prostate cancer is rising nearly two percent every year.

"There are 200,000 plus cases diagnosed every year and 30,000 deaths associated with prostate cancer," said Northway. "It's a problem that's here with us to stay."

It's why Barnes says aside from his banking business he makes it his business to bring up prostate cancer. He urges friends and fellow businessmen he meets to get regular PSA blood screening and checkups that can lead to early detection.

"I think there is a stigma," said Barnes. "I think people are reluctant to talk about it unless they're talking to someone who's already been through it or who has been diagnosed with cancer. Then they open up and share their stories."

They are stories of survival just like the one Barnes is living every day.

For more information on the symptoms and treatment of prostate cancer, go here.