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Biography

Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics of the “G.Gaslini” Scientific Children’s Hospital. Adviser for international affairs and adviser for Psycho-Oncology. Secretary of the Commission “Pediatrics” at the College of Physicians of Genova. Expert Reviewer for European Commission Framework Programme 7th research proposals in bioethics and life sciences, Brussels. Director of the Courses of Pediatric Oncology at the International School of Scientific Culture “Ettore Majorana” (Erice Sicily, Italy). CURRENT RESEARCH INTERESTS: Pediatrics, Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Bioethics, Health Management, Psychology and quality of life

Abstract

Treatment outcomes in childhood cancer patients have dramatically improved over the last 40 years, achieving a survival rate above 80%. At the same time, with increased survival the delayed effects linked both to therapies and to the psychosocial implications of the disease itself have become manifest. Those most commonly identified, but in a low percentage, are an increased incidence of organ defects, growth retardation, sterility, second malignancies, and neuropsychological and cognitive disturbances. Published reports on the late health effects and quality of life in childhood cancer survivors focus principally on current perceptions of prominent indicators like social life, education, occupation, fertility and marriage. Recently, a number of national pediatric oncology societies have enlisted television and film industry celebrities in media campaigns that seek to debunk a common misperception, namely, the tragic story of the illness and death of a child accompanied by the usual dose of tear-jerking melodrama. The message we want to give to the general public is that leukemia and cancer can be cured. The International Society of Pediatric Oncology (SIOP) has set up a highly skilled working group made up of teenagers and young adults who have been cured. It is possible to meet them at conferences all over the world, where they participate in passionate and lively discussions, all the while displaying a very high degree of maturity and self-awareness. It is a fact that, among former cancer patients that have been cured and grown into adults, social exclusion and substance abuse are virtually non-existent. They can often be heard speaking with the confident voice of a winner, of someone who has survived the shipwreck and has reached a safe port after battling through the waves