By Stefania Gori, MD
President, Italian Association of Medical Oncology
“Thank you for the job you do every day with your hands, your heart, and your mind to help millions of patients with cancer to get out of the tunnel.”
With these words, Pope Francis thanked oncologists from all over the world. He shared this gratitude with representatives of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) and AIOM Foundation, as well as patients, during an official audience at the Vatican in September.
As part of the audience, AIOM representatives presented the project “Cancro, la prevenzione non si ferma dopo i 65 anni” (“Cancer: prevention does not stop after age 65”). We at AIOM involved the Senior Italia Federanziani, the Association of the Italian Elderly, to promote the comprehensive project related to prevention at all ages.
“Give me your hands because I want to bless them. And give me your heart so that the Lord will guide the work you do,” Pope Francis said to the oncologists at the audience.
Meeting with the Holy Father awoke strong, unique emotions and was a matter of great satisfaction for me and for all the delegation because the Pope showed great closeness to the job that the oncologists every day carry out to fight cancer.
It was a morning filled with significance, followed by a conference in the Sala Teutonica with Monsignor Pegoraro, Chancellor of the “Pontificia Accademia per la Vita” who, with the oncologists, insisted that also the aged population should follow healthy lifestyles and access cancer screening.
AIOM wants to extend the Papal blessing to all oncologists and to our friends in ASCO, because in His words there is a strong acknowledgement of the job that every day we try to do to the very best of our ability.
Below: AIOM members and patient representatives meet Pope Francis at the Vatican. Photos courtesy of AIOM.
Dr. Gori is the president of the Italian Association of Medical Oncology (AIOM) and the director of the Oncology Department at IRCCS Sacro Cuore Don Calabria Hospital, in Negrar, Verona, Italy. She has served as coordinator of the AIOM Guidelines breast cancer working group since 2012, has participated in national and international congresses, has served as scientific head of approximately 100 courses and conferences, and is the author of more than 150 scientific publications. Dr. Gori is a member of the ASCO and of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO).