The Reporter Turned Patient

April 17, 2023
The Reporter Turned Patient


Brian Banmiller is a National Business News Reporter for CBS News Radio. His experience in news reporting runs almost 5 decades deep. He’s traveled all over the world to bring us stories of the good, the bad, and the ugly in business, medical, and political news. A seasoned expert in his field, Banmiller was the Business News Anchor at KTVU Channel Two News in Oakland for 20 years. His livelihood and his passion were rooted in bringing stories to light that needed to be told. A local and national favorite, he’s well versed in reporting stories, but he’s never been the subject of one. Now, here is his story of becoming an esophagul cancer survivor.

Treatment Journey

After the endoscopy procedure ordered by Dr. Rowe, Banmiller would get some news that would change everything. 

He shares what these life-changing moments were like and how his dedicated team of doctors forged ahead to combat his disease. 

“In post-op, when Dr. Rowe walked into my recovery room, his eyes said it all. The endoscopy procedure found cancer on my esophagus. This could have been a deadly diagnosis if it was not found in time. In my case, he found it by pure accident, and that saved my life. He immediately coordinated with my primary care physician, Doctor Bela Kenessey. Collectively, they decided on the best course of treatment. The pair put together an incredible team of specialists. I am especially grateful for world-renowned thoracic surgeon, Dr. Wilson Tsai. He led the John Muir Hospital team on a seven-hour, state-of-the-art robotic operation. The very delicate and lengthy procedure cut out the cancer, shortening my stomach and esophagus. The average hospital stay after this type of surgery is 15 days. Fortunately, I was discharged in just 5 days. There were the expected ramifications from this major surgery, and it required 12 more outpatient procedures as part of the healing process.”

Banmiller recovered from the invasive surgery, but the road to recovery was challenging. He needed chemotherapy to keep the cancer at bay. With a long family history of cancer, he witnessed the effects of chemo firsthand while supporting his family members through their battles. His father died of cancer of the thymus. His mother passed away from bone cancer. His oldest brother lost his battle with lung cancer at 59. His second oldest brother continues to suffer from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. They all told him of the chemo sickness they experienced, so he was aware there would be some heavy side effects to the treatment. 

Dr. Michael Sherman took charge of the three-month-long chemo treatments. Banmiller trusted his team of doctors that chemo was essential to guarantee cancer would not soon come back. He says, “The chemo sickness  was horrible, but it was made bearable by the incredible care from his dedicated medical team.”

Treatment Outcome

Banmiller’s cancer is now in remission. He continues monitoring through a PET scan and blood work every 4 months. The robotic surgery he underwent to remove the cancer in his esophagus was a state-of-the-art, evidence-based treatment option. While it came with risks, it turned out to be the best option for his circumstances and produced a successful outcome. Banmiller is grateful for the specialized expertise and guidance from his doctors. He knows that a dedicated center for cancer treatment, where experts in the field can collectively treat patients for optimal outcomes, is a crucial element in furthering the future of cancer care and research.

Life Beyond Cancer

Thanks to his doctor taking a proactive approach to his medical care, Banmiller is happy to report he is currently cancer-free. He credits his survival to his loving wife, Jennifer, and the team of experts he entrusted to take charge of his care. 

Banmiller is passionate about spreading his message of awareness in hopes that it will help others prioritize their health and wellness. He cautions not to dismiss recurrent symptoms. While April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month, every day is an opportunity to take control of your health. If you are suffering from persistent reflux symptoms or recurrent abdominal pain, you should talk to your doctor. In the case of Brian Banmiller, early detection was the difference between life and death.

BASS Cancer Care Services

Depending on the type of cancer and how far it has spread, BASS Cancer Center and the BASS Medical Group offer a wide range of treatment options. These options include surgery, radiation therapy, and systemic therapies like immunotherapy, targeted therapy, and chemotherapy.   

Our state-of-the-art cancer center features a full-service medical oncology clinic, including infusion suite, multiple exam rooms, and a PET/CT scanner. We also provide the most technologically advanced radiation oncology treatment in California. Our cancer experts use an Elekta VersaHD CT-Guided linear accelerator with Visionrt’s AlignRT Surface Guided technology (SGRT) and an MR-Guided Linear Accelerator (ViewRay MRIdian).

The VersaHD and MRIdian augment each platform’s capabilities and give the patient and BASS physician an unprecedented ability to tailor a radiotherapy treatment course best fit for each person’s case. Our AlignRT SGRT platform utilizes innovative optical technology to accurately track a patient’s position before and during treatment. It performs this without exposing them to any additional radiation (commonly needed by other radiotherapy platforms for maintaining setup). Additionally, SGRT provides options. It allows some patients the choice to avoid permanent marks on their bodies.

The BASS Approach

BASS Cancer Center is part of the BASS Medical Group, with access to a multidisciplinary team of top surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists, as well as care coordinators, wellness support, and patient education resources. Our vision centers on our belief that everyone deserves access to the most advanced cancer treatments without compromising on compassionate and individualized care. We pride ourselves in working together with you to develop the best possible management plan, all the while supporting you and your families along the way.