Phil Murphy, New Jersey Governor, Says He Has a Kidney Tumor



Feb. 22, 2020

Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey delivering the State of the State address last month in Trenton.Credit...


Gov. Phil Murphy of New Jersey said on Saturday that he would undergo surgery next month to remove a tumor on his kidney.

“I’ve got a tumor on my left kidney and will undergo a partial nephrectomy in early March to remove it,” Mr. Murphy, a Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “The prognosis is very good and I’m profoundly grateful to my doctors for detecting the tumor early.”

He added that “over 50,000 New Jerseyans will hear the words ‘you have cancer’ this year, so I’m far from alone here.”

Mahen Gunaratna, the governor’s communications director, said the three-centimeter tumor was discovered during a recent checkup. He says that it is impossible to know whether the tumor is cancerous until it is removed, but that in 90 percent of similar cases, it is.

Mr. Murphy, 62, plans to undergo surgery at a hospital in New York City, where he will remain for several days before returning home to Middletown, N.J. He will then transition back to work in Trenton over the next several weeks, Mr. Gunaratna said.

The lieutenant governor, Sheila Y. Oliver, will serve as acting governor while Mr. Murphy is hospitalized, Mr. Gunaratna said.

Mr. Murphy told NJ Advance Media that he did not expect to undergo chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

“The expectation is that overwhelmingly, assuming nothing happens on the operating table or you don’t get an infection or something, you’re back on your feet and back in the game without any impairment going forward,” the governor said in the interview at his home with his wife, Tammy Murphy.

“I know Phil and he’s a fighter,” Ms. Murphy wrote on Twitter. “We’re grateful to his amazing team of doctors who detected this tumor early.”

The governor, a former Wall Street banker, said that he would continue to fight for better health care for residents.

“Health care is a right, not a privilege for a select few, and skyrocketing medical costs are a national emergency,” Mr. Murphy wrote. “If there’s anything my diagnosis reminds me of, it’s that preventative services are lifesaving and we need to continue fighting for affordable health care for all.”

In his interview with NJ Advance Media, the governor said he expected that by the third or fourth week after surgery, “you’re fully in the game.”

“I’ve got a 5K — knock on wood — scheduled for April that I fully expect to be running in,” he said.

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