Patient Story: Roberto

What happens when the roles are reversed and the doctor suddenly becomes the patient? What happens when a doctor is diagnosed with cancer?

A cancer diagnosis is devastating news for everyone. The world falls in on you, and for a doctor, who often has to deal with the illnesses and suffering of others, the idea that “it can't happen to me” is perhaps even stronger.

Roberto, 68, has a slight headache at first, but with the passage of time, he also starts to experience short-term memory deficits. After a few months, he undergoes an MRI of the brain, the most suitable radiological examination for these symptoms. The result: a glioma with a low degree of malignancy in the temporoparietal and right occipital areas. Gliomas are malignant neoplasms that can develop in any area of the central nervous system, including the brain and (albeit more rarely), the spinal cord. Gliomas have different characteristics depending on the brain cells from which they originate and their degree of aggressiveness. Based on these characteristics, they also have different prognoses. The lesser the degree of aggression, the better the prognosis.

The first step taken is to operate and surgically remove the tumor. The operation is successful and Roberto is prescribed radiotherapy to support the surgery. He is referred to UPMC Hillman Cancer Center Villa Maria. About his experience at UPMC's Advanced Radiotherapy Center at Mirabella Eclano, he says that it was

“More than positive, for environments, professionalism, availability, and hospitality,” and continues, “it is a unique center, not far from home, with all the features an ultra-specialized structure like this can give”.

Roberto underwent 30 radiotherapy sessions for the full duration of his six-week treatment cycle. Going to a specialized center equipped with advanced technologies close to home has certainly made the complex battle against cancer easier, at least from the point of view of travel. Roberto periodically carries out clinical-instrumental follow-up checks, which for the moment have not shown any sign that the disease has returned.

“On a personal level and on the basis of my experience as a doctor in the public sector for over 40 years, I can affirm that the UPMC Center in Mirabella Eclano is a real salvation for the entire territory of Irpinia”.