5 tips for new patients from esophageal cancer survivor Jim Murphy

November 6, 2015 | by Valerie Howard



When 52-year-old Jim Murphy, an avid mountain biker, was informed he had esophageal cancer, he made a powerful decision. He decided to continue living as actively as possible, and do the things that fueled his spirit and soul.

“When I found out I had cancer, I decided I would make the best of the situation and continue living a normal life,” Jim said. “Cancer is not a death sentence; it’s a disease.”

With clearance from his doctors, Jim rode his mountain bike at least three times a week during his chemotherapy and radiation treatment. He continued his duties with the National Ski Patrol at Bear Mountain and refused to take the elevator while undergoing treatment at City of Hope, using the stairs to signal his refusal to succumb to the disease and treatment side effects.

Now, with his cancer in remission, his story is featured in a new campaign highlighting City of Hope’s unique approach to patient treatment and wellness: “The Miracle of Science with Soul.

Here, Jim offers five pieces of advice for people who have been recently diagnosed with cancer, shared previously on Breakthroughs:

  1. Replace "why?" with "what?" Focus the discussion and your energy on moving forward with your treatment plan. You do have cancer, so the "why?" won't help you now. Your initial response can galvanize your resolve in this fight. Engage your medical team now.
  2. Lean on the three F's: Faith, Family and Friends. Open up and take them on the journey with you. Your faith and support network can prove very powerful in this fight. There is strength in numbers, and you’ll find out how often their encouragement is better than medicine.
  3. Don't let cancer know you're coming. Be diligent at keeping your life as normal as possible for as long as you can. A sense of normalcy can promote a positive outlook to your current circumstance. Sneak up on it like it did to you!
  4. Use cancer to reset your lifestyle. Eat better food, get your body in better physical shape and strengthen your mind using meditation as part of your treatment regimen. Spiritual wellness can also be an amazing source of comfort and peace.
  5. Inspire others throughout your fight. That inspiration will be returned to you tenfold. I created a blog to communicate my progress, never having blogged before, and found the response from others kept me inspired throughout my battle until that day I could once again call myself cancer-free.

Watch Jim's inspiring story below.


Learn more about our esophageal cancer treatment and research and our unique patient experience. If you have been diagnosed with esophageal cancer or are looking for a second opinion consultation about your treatment, request an appointment online or contact us at 800-826-HOPE. Please visit Making Your First Appointment for more information.


Back To Top

Search Blogs