Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Umberto Veronesi

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and Milan-born Umberto Veronesi is one of the most distinguished oncologists in the world. He came up with the quadrantectomy, whereby the breast is conserved upon surgery for a tumor. At 85, he continues to be a vital part of the scientific world, and of civil society.

Doctor Veronesi is an interesting and outspoken man. He is an avowed non-believer who maintains that faith and science cannot be reconciled. His politics are left-of-center, and he has been active in politics. He is in favor of nuclear energy and is now set to become the head of the Italian equivalent of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. He also supports genetically-modified organisms for eradicating hunger (believing that opposition to them is due to ignorance of the science involved), the legalization of marijuana, and incinerators for waste management.

He is also a noted vegetarian, for ethical reasons, but also strongly believes in the health, prevention and environmental motives for low/no consumption of meat. He has stated that cancer is primarily caused by non-genetic factors, and of these he considers that diet is the most important. Judging from his vigor and lucidity, he is a good poster "boy" for the cause.

The site for the Veronesi Foundation can be found here; it includes several booklets on prevention and health in .pdf, all in Italian.