Home » Angela Finocchiaro and breast cancer: “I would like someone to tell us why…”

Angela Finocchiaro and breast cancer: “I would like someone to tell us why…”

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Angela Finocchiaro and breast cancer: “I would like someone to tell us why…”

I would like to know why it comes to us. I wish someone would explain it to me. And why does it come right there! Right there. Look, it’s a break of…”.

Try to imagine the expression of Angela Finocchiaro as he says these words. She’s on a stage, but she’s not acting. Chat with Paolo Veronesi, as a guest and testimonial of Ieo for women (the one that is now an institution and that every year brings together many patients and former patients who have had breast cancer in Milan, to talk about progress and hopes) . As revealed on May 23 on that stage, Angela Finocchiaro speaks from experience: she too had breast cancer, 10 years ago now. And that memory becomes sharing.
“I have a lot of friends who have had it. By now on the phone everything is a ‘oh, you too!‘ Before I had it, I counted them: that one had it, that one too… If the statistics work, maybe I… And instead…”.

Below and above the stage we laugh. Then, before starting to read Splendor’s Porn Saturday by Stefano Benni, she becomes serious for a moment: “This is a sneaky disease – she says – Not at the moment, when one faces it. But over time. Corrodes the image. Your dad Umberto was right to say that the difficult thing is to get her out of your mind”.

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That’s why there are those who think that breast cancer today should be looked at with different eyes. And not surprisingly, “With other eyes” is the title of both this edition of Ieo for women, and of a series of 5 podcasts created in collaboration with Ieo, to talk about as many aspects of life with and beyond the disease , with narrator’s voice Monica Guerritore, also a former patient (available on all free audio platforms: Spotify, Spreaker, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music). At the Teatro Manzoni in Milan, together with Angela Finocchiaro, they are also there: the protagonists of those stories.

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Three diagnoses

Like Marina, who had breast cancer three times: in 1998, 2013 and 2020. And she tells how communication has changed in this period of time. “The first diagnosis – he recalls – took place coldly. At first I was handed a box of anti-inflammatories which were supposed to solve the problem. The next time, a radiologist only told me ‘if you know a good surgeon, let him operate’. Fifteen years later, things have gone very differently: I felt a sort of fatigue, of shame in communicating the third diagnosis. I think it wasn’t easy for that doctor either. As Umberto Veronesi told me, people do half of the care for her ”. And we are all people, as you recalled Gabriella Pravettoni, director of Psycho-oncology of the institute: “We all become patients at some point, but we always remain people who live on feelings and emotions. And we often forget that facing a path like that of cancer is easier if we are able to have a balance ourselves first, and if the people around us have it, including doctors”.

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Changing the perception of the disease

Today breast cancer is a very different disease compared to the common thought, which still sees it as a curse or a lifetime mark – he says Paul Veronesi, Director of the IEO Breast Program: “The intelligent drugs, children of the decoding of the genome, have finally reached the patients. Furthermore, prevention has improved, so much so that today we are able to identify even better the people at greater risk of getting sick. Until a few years ago we knew 5 or 6 genes that predisposed to the development of the disease, today we know at least twice as many and, if we discover the carriers, we can activate special surveillance programs. The improvement of treatments has also allowed us to deal even more extensively with the life of women beyond the disease. We have learned to preserve fertility whenever possible, to ensure that women also take care of their sexuality and their physical and mental well-being in general, without considering them as superfluous elements. We have good reasons to change our vision of breast cancer – she concludes – Changing the perspective of women, doctors and society in a positive way would already be a victory over cancer”.

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