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Wilmot Jobes - Patient Story

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“10 years after a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis, I'm here to thank Dr. Chen for saving my life.”

— Wilmot Jobes, Stage II Bladder Cancer Survivor

My wife, Carol, and I celebrated our 60th wedding anniversary the summer of 2016. That same year marked 10 years since my successful surgery for bladder cancer at Fox Chase Cancer Center.

I had begun noticing some urinary changes in the fall of 2006, when I was 70, and I knew something was not quite right. I made an appointment with my primary care doctor, who referred me to a urologist. After several tests, the urologist called and asked me to come to the office to speak to him in person.

When my wife and I arrived for the appointment, the urologist said that the tests had detected a suspicious spot on my bladder and that I most likely had an invasive cancer. He suggested that I see a urologist very soon. If I had waited another three months, he said, I would be dead.

It was a scary thing to hear, but I knew I needed to stay calm and find a surgeon. Because my cancer was beyond his scope of care, the urologist referred me to two hospitals—a South Jersey hospital near where I live or Fox Chase in Philadelphia.

My wife and I decided I should first meet with the South Jersey surgeon, who confirmed the diagnosis of Stage 2 bladder cancer. The surgeon recommended that I go to Fox Chase, a facility that offers cutting-edge treatment options. I immediately went home and scheduled an appointment with Dr. David Y.T. Chen, a surgical oncologist at Fox Chase.

From that first appointment, things started getting better for me. My first impression of Dr. Chen was very positive. He reviewed my history and began to explain my options. One option would be removal of my bladder and creation of a stoma, which would mean I would need to wear a urostomy bag. I have always enjoyed swimming, so that wasn’t a great option for me.

The second option would be to remove my bladder and fashion a neobladder, or bladder replacement, that would be created with my own tissues and would allow me to pass urine more normally. That was the option we chose. During the surgery, Dr. Chen also removed more than 40 lymph nodes and my prostate and appendix, which is a normal part of the complex procedure.

Dr. Chen is an outstanding doctor who not only saved my life but also preserved my quality of life. I consider him my friend. I can’t say enough about him and his commitment to patient care. He is one in a million. I am also grateful to the medical team at Fox Chase who taught me how to catheterize myself if there was a medical emergency and educated me about what I needed to know about changes to my body.

Carol was at my side through all of my medical appointments, and my children, Valerie and Douglas, gave me their love and support. I am a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. Ten years after my surgery, I continue to enjoy my retirement, my family, and my life.

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