Fr. Jerry Orbos (center) speaks during a media forum on lung cancer awareness in Manila, 5 Sept 2019. ROY LAGARDE

Philippines: Cancer survivor Fr. Jerry Orbos Shares Journey to Healing

‘The joy of the Lord is my strength, positive outlook’

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A priest and cancer survivor is inspiring others in his path to healing.

Fr. Jerry Orbos was diagnosed with lung cancer in February 2018 and had quite a journey to recovery, according to CBCP News.

As a priest, he knew his weapon so he did a lot praying and positive outlook. Now, he’s sharing his personal road to recovery.

He had all the traditional treatments and is now cancer-free, but he attributed much of his recovery to his joyful outlook.

“You try everything you can because it’s also important that you help yourself. That’s why my advocacy is focused on ‘humor, not on the tumor,’” Fr. Orbos said.

“The joy of the Lord is my strength, positive outlook. If you are joyful, the healing is faster,” he said. “You have to hope, you have to trust.”


Since his college days, Fr. Orbos was a secret smoker who admitted he only smokes “moderately”.

Towards the latter years, the priest experienced weight loss, coughing, and he easily got tired.

His cancer was discovered by accident. Fr. Orbos said he visited a doctor to initially undergo a CT scan of his abdomen.

“I don’t know why I told the doctor to also check my lungs, and there he found a white spot,” said Fr. Orbos. “Right away, he said, ‘Father, the tumor is malignant.’”

St. Ezequiel’s intercession

For months, he underwent sessions of chemotherapy and immunotherapy or what he coined, albeit in jest, “chemotherapy”.

On Jan. 15 this year, he was declared cancer-free with no recurrence by his oncologist.

“I thank God I had cancer. It’s a blessing. It cleansed me a lot, it made me humble and made me realize how beautiful life is,” Fr. Orbos said.

Fr. Orbos also claimed that he was cured of cancer with the help of Saint Ezequiel Moreno’s intercession.

He admitted not knowing the saint at first until somebody gave him a 3-feet statue of St. Ezequiel, who is popularly invoked as the patron of cancer patients.

“I really didn’t know him. I never heard about him,” said Fr. Orbos. “But through this cancer, I met St. Ezequiel Moreno.”

New mission

The priest went from cancer patient to advocate. He recently became an ambassador of “Hope from Within,” an advocacy campaign for lung cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the Philippines, accounting for over 15,000 deaths per year.

Unfortunately, patients have reportedly delayed getting diagnosed and treated due to the misconceptions about the disease.

To stop such stigma, the campaign hopes to spread the different voices of some lung cancer patients’ journeys.

For everything that happened, Fr. Orbos realized that he has a new “mission” to take.

“Now, I end up being an advocate for cancer, healing, and for the presence of God in our cancer,” he said.

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