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'I thought it was a hangover, but it was more sinister' - Cork man diagnosed with brain tumour at 25

Following a year-long battle, James Murphy got the all clear today just before going on air.
May 11th 2017, 2:06 PM 23,329 24

A CORK MAN was left in a state of shock after being diagnosed with a brain tumour at the age of 25 following a weekend of bad headaches.

James Murphy from Ballincollig chose to undergo a year of radiation and chemotherapy, along with serious surgery to remove the 4cm cancerous growth on his brain.

“I left work in Dublin on a Friday and travelled to Cork. As a typical 25-year-old would do, met his friends for a few drinks on the Friday night and then woke up on Saturday morning not feeling the best,” Murphy told Ryan Tubridy on RTE Radio 1 this morning.

“Initially I thought this was a hangover, feeling my age, but it turned out to be something more sinister.”

Murphy was informed that a man of his age and health should not be suffering from a headache like this and was immediately transferred to Dun Laoighaire hospital for tests. From here, his world was turned upside down.

“They found a growth on my brain when they did the scan and what it transpired to be was a tumour on my right parietal lobe, it was about 4cm,” he said.

“It didn’t register initially, I was kind of shocked. It took a few weeks for it to settle in. Prior to that, for me a brain tumour was something you’d see on a TV show when they’re killing off one of the main characters, you don’t think it’s going to happen to you.”

After being given a variety of options to figure out whether the tumour was benign or cancerous, Murphy elected to have a high-risk surgery on 9 August 2016 which managed to remove 95% of the growth.

“It came back that the results were cancerous. It came back to be a grade 3 brain tumour. They discussed the future treatment, which in my case would be radiation and chemotherapy,” he said.

Good news

Following six months of intensive chemotherapy and radiation, Murphy received the results of his six month MRI just before going on air – the first scan he underwent since the surgery.

“There was no active cancer present. It looked like the 5% is gone. Obviously with these things you’re never fully out of the woods, they’ll continue to monitor it with scans every six to twelve months,” he said.

“It’s great news, myself and my family are over the moon. It’s fantastic, I can’t really put it into words.”

The cancer diagnosis has left Murphy with a completely new outlook on life with more of an awareness of the support structure he has around him.

An employee of Twitter, Murphy also credited the social media company for the outstanding support it has given him since his diagnosis.

“They’ve supported me right from day one and that’s not just my colleagues in Dublin, that’s colleagues in San Francisco, in London, in Singapore.

“They nominated brain tumour Ireland as their charity partner for 2017,” he said.

Brain Tumour Ireland was founded in 2012 to provide information and support to brain tumour patients and their families. THe charity also supports brain tumour research, helping to fund the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland brain tumour biobank.

Twitter Dublin is running a fundraising initiative called Wear a Hat Day on Friday, 12 May. People can donate €4 to Brain Tumour Ireland by texting BTI to 50300 or through the fundraising page here.

Read: ‘Women will die needlessly’: Call for push to increase uptake of HPV vaccine

More: Skin cancer deaths in Ireland: One in four are construction workers or farmers

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Hayley Halpin

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