VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis went to Rome’s Gemelli hospital March 29 for “some previously planned tests,” the Vatican press office said, providing no further details.
In a late January interview with the Associated Press, Pope Francis had said that the diverticulitis, or bulges in his intestinal wall, had “returned,” but he insisted he was in good health for his age, which is 86.
Pope Francis spent 10 days in Gemelli hospital in July 2021 after undergoing a three-hour surgery that included a left hemicolectomy, which is the removal of the descending part of the colon, a surgery that can be recommended to treat diverticulitis.
Three days after surgery, the Vatican said, “the final histological examination has confirmed a severe diverticular stenosis with signs of sclerosing diverticulitis,” a hardening of the tissue. The statement seemed to indicate that the biopsy showed no cancerous cells, although it did not say so explicitly, and rumors began.
Interviewed by the Reuters news agency in July 2022, the pope was asked about rumors that doctors had found cancer.
According to Reuters, Pope Francis laughed and said: “They didn’t tell me about it. They didn’t tell me.”
But, really, he said, “they explained everything to me well — full stop.”
The cancer rumor, he said, “is court gossip. The court spirit is still there in the Vatican. And if you think about it, the Vatican is the last European court of an absolute monarchy.”