The Bladder Cancer Foundation of Florida is a 501(c)3 non-profit Florida corporation established to raise awareness and educate on the dangers, detection, and treatment of bladder cancer.
In 2010 when Jim Dean, with few symptoms, was diagnosed with stage IV bladder cancer he underwent a 9.5 hour surgery to remove the cancer and his bladder.
The entire time leading up to his surgery he asked himself, “What is this cancer that I had little or no symptoms of. How did it get to this point without my knowing what was happening in my own body?” Following surgery Jim had over 6 months of chemotherapy and eventually was declared “cancer free until proven otherwise”. Due to the late staging of his bladder cancer it would most likely return.
But, rather than sit back and take a “we will just wait and see” approach he decided along with his wife, Carla, Ed Maxwell and Bec Kreider, Jensen Beach, FL that we can do something about this. We can create a greater awareness of this cancer that has come into our lives. Ed Maxwell also has bladder cancer but an earlier stage. It doesn’t mean he hasn’t been busy treating his bladder cancer; he recently had a partial cystectomy and had previously been treated with the current technology for bladder cancer.
Interestingly enough, Ed and Jim have fought other battles as Vietnam Veterans.
With a great deal of research the Bladder Cancer Foundation of Florida (the only Bladder Cancer organization to do so) spoke at the Institute of Medicine’s 10th Biennial Vietnam Veterans Agent Orange Health Issue meeting in March 2015 and proved to this body that Vietnam veterans who were exposed to the herbicide in Vietnam were more likely to develop bladder cancer than their contemporaries who were not exposed.
Both Jim and Ed were in Vietnam during periods of high spraying of Agent Orange. We believe partly due to our research evidence and the presentation of our President, VA stated in March 2016 in their report that “Based on the entire body of evidence, the committee Update 2014 changed the categories of association with exposure to the herbicides sprayed in Vietnam for three health effects.
Bladder cancer and hypothyroidism were moved from “inadequate or insufficient” evidence of association up to “limited or suggestive” evidence of association”. This was the verbiage of various other approved AO diseases and yet nothing has been decided. Since nothing was heard after this report was released our President Carla Dean spoke to the National Institute of Medicine 11th Biennial meeting in March 2017. She asked about the delays regarding this issue and the research the BCFF had submitted. We all still wait patiently for a final decision. We are not only about this effort we have been working since our founding in 2012 to create a much greater knowledge among the public about the early signs and symptoms of Bladder Cancer.
This is very important as Florida has the 2nd highest incidence of Bladder Cancer in the United States. That’s who we are, a group of people who work as volunteers, (there are no paid members of our team), to create a greater awareness! Sadly with the death of Jim Dean shortly after the release of the IOM report we brought on a new board member and Treasurer, Terri Bass, CPA of Naples, Florida.