...By Gift BADEWO for TDPel Media.
Silvio Berlusconi Diagnosed with Leukaemia
Silvio Berlusconi, the former Prime Minister of Italy, has been diagnosed with leukaemia less than 24 hours after being admitted to intensive care.
Concerns grew for the 86-year-old’s health after his spokesman confirmed that he had been forced back to Milan’s San Raffaele Hospital, just days after being discharged.
Sources close to the leader of the Right-wing Forza Italia party have now confirmed that Berlusconi, who has suffered repeated bouts of illness in recent years, has leukaemia – a blood cancer leading to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells.
Berlusconi’s Health History
Berlusconi has previously overcome prostate cancer, which he described as ‘a nightmare lasting months’.
However, it was his battle with Covid-19 in 2020 that he described as the ‘most dangerous challenge’ of his life.
The former AC Milan owner, who also had major heart surgery in 2016 to replace an aortic valve, has had a pacemaker for several years.
He was hospitalized again for a reported urinary tract infection in January 2022.
Political Career and Controversies
Berlusconi won a seat in Italy’s Senate during general elections in September 2022.
His Forza Italia party is part of the ruling government coalition. Berlusconi was accused – but acquitted this year – of paying young starlets and others for ‘silence and lies’ about his notoriously hedonistic soirees, which he has always insisted were elegant dinners.
The verdict was the culmination of a legal battle which began in 2010 when Berlusconi – then prime minister – was accused of abusing his power to protect a young Moroccan nightclub dancer, Karima El-Mahroug.
Berlusconi was temporarily banned from political office after a conviction for tax fraud in 2013, for which he served a community sentence.
He then returned to the political front lines and was re-elected as a senator last year.
Leukaemia: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
Leukaemia is a cancer that starts in blood-forming tissue, usually the bone marrow.
It leads to the over-production of abnormal white blood cells, which fight off infections.
However, a higher number of white blood cells means there is ‘less room’ for other cells, including red blood cells – which transport oxygen around the body – and platelets – which cause blood to clot when the skin is cut.
There are many different types of leukaemia, which are defined according to the immune cells they affect and how the disease progresses.
Most cases have no obvious cause, with the cancer not being contagious or inherited. Leukaemia generally becomes more common with age.
Symptoms are generally vague and get worse over time. Acute leukaemia – which progresses rapidly and aggressively – is often curable via chemo, radiotherapy, or a stem cell transplant.
Chronic forms of the disease – which typically progress slowly – tend to incurable, however, these patients can often live with the disease.