Bringing His Good Business Sense to the URF

Categories: Winter 2008
Frank Bick and his wife, Pat
Frank Bick and his wife, Pat

Frank Bick has good business sense. His successes and experience have helped many a not-for-profit organization. And because of his family’s history with prostate cancer, the Urological Research Foundation has been one of the beneficiaries. Bick has been a URF Board member for 11 years and a staunch and generous supporter of Dr. Catalona’s research.

Getting Into the Business

Bick enlisted in the Navy on his 18th birthday in 1945. After serving overseas, he came back to St. Louis in 1946 and his father hired him to work for the one Southside newspaper his father owned. Bick grew into adulthood in his father’s business.

When his father died from prostate cancer in 1960, young Bick became the publisher. A month later, he made notecards announcing a new paper, the South County Journal. Within ten years, the number of papers had grown to 10. Bick had created the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis.

He sold them in 1984 and one year later started a radio station in Hannibal, Missouri. Twelve years later, when he sold the business, he had stations across small towns in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.

Diagnosed with CaP

Bick participated in Dr. Catalona’s large PSA study in St. Louis. When he was 73, he got a call that his PSA score and a suspicious digital rectal exam were cause for concern. A biopsy confirmed the diagnosis of prostate cancer.

Although Dr. Catalona’s preferred recommendation is removal of the prostate for healthy, vital men with 10 or more years of active life ahead of them, he explains all possible choices to his patients. And men in their mid 70’s have different factors to consider than younger men.

After discussing treatment options with his wife, Bick chose watchful waiting and no treatment other than a PSA test every three months.

Now, at age 81, he said, “I happened to be one of those few guys where it didn’t progress to the point of being life-threatening. And I know some of it is luck. Last December, one of my brother’s died of prostate cancer at 78. And another brother in his 80’s was diagnosed and is being treated successfully.

Bick’s PSA has fluctuated over the years, sometimes going up considerably but then coming down after antibiotic treatments and treatments for symptoms of BPH (enlarged prostate).

Bick’s two brothers had nine children each, ten of them boys.

“I suggested early PSA testing for all of them and, shortly after, they went to Dr. Catalona for their initial tests. Sharing information can make a difference,” Bick said.

Commitment to Research

Clearly, Bick’s interest and involvement came from family concerns, but his commitment to prostate cancer research is for every man.

We need to find a cure for the disease. Research helps in better diagnosis and better treatment, very important, but the real goal should be a cure. I support the work of the URF and Dr. Catalona because of the successful research results, but even more because Dr. Catalona is committed to the search for prevention and cure of prostate cancer,” Bick said.

Bick gets an idea and he just does it. Once he makes the decision, he doesn’t worry about what might or could happen. It’s an attitude that has served him well. And has served the organizations he supports.

This year, he made a list of names from groups he belonged to and from memberships in clubs and social organizations. Then, he prepared a letter requesting donations to the URF – an activity he said is an easy way to raise funds for a worthy cause.

At the end of the letter, he wrote, “Be sure to send your sons for their PSA tests!”

Bick doesn’t understand why there is a controversy about PSA testing.

“What does a doctor have to do to prove PSA testing saves lives? Look at all the men walking around the streets, breathing air, who statistics show would have died in the era before PSA testing.”

There has now been a 37% reduction in the age-adjusted prostate cancer death rate in the United States in the PSA era.

“We have a way to go, but prostate cancer research saves lives. And early detection saves lives,” Bick said.

Subscribe to Quest

Dr. Catalona Pic With Donate Now Button