The Italian Association of Medical Oncology was founded in 1973. It is one of many such associations around the world, all dedicated to the treatment of cancer, and to providing medical care to people diagnosed with the disease.
In his address, Pope Francis praised the Association for “encouraging research and prevention, working to improve diagnosis and treatment, and developing numerous initiatives to update and train doctors and other operators in the oncology sector”.
“Creating and fostering relationships is an essential commitment to building the common good”, said the Pope, before commenting on the fact that both doctors and patients were present at the audience in the Vatican. “The choice of participating together in this meeting”, he said, “represents a strong message and an eloquent sign not only for the world of health care, but for the whole of society, called to renew itself in a fraternal and supportive way”.
An oncology of mercy
The Association’s National Congress has as its theme: “The best care for each patient”. The Pope called this “an oncology of mercy”, because the effort to personalize treatment reveals an attention “not only to the disease, but to the patient and to his or her characteristics”, he said. “An oncology of this kind goes beyond the application of protocols and reveals the use of technology that is at the service of people”.
Technology and euthanasia
“Technology is not at the service of man when it reduces him to one thing, when it distinguishes between those who still deserve to be cared for and those who do not”, continued Pope Francis. “The practice of euthanasia only apparently aims to promote personal freedom”, he said. “In reality, it is based on a utilitarian vision of the person”.
A healthy environment
The best prevention, concluded Pope Francis, “is that of a healthy environment and a lifestyle respectful of the human body and its laws”. This is why we must respect our common home, he said, “because it respects us in turn. The protection of the environment and the fight against cancer become two sides of the same problem, two complementary aspects of the same battle of civilization and humanity”.