Ettore Castronovo

This page lists items in the database related to Italian radiologist Ettore Castronovo (b. Gesso-Messina, Italy, 21 January 1894; d. Messina, Italy, 30 May 1954).

He devoted his studies and life to scientific research, he was one of the founders of Radiation Therapy, discovering the healing powers of X-rays and developing various techniques for their use in cancer treatment. Enrolled at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Rome, he followed courses with great enthusiasm, only stopping after a few years to go to the front as a infantry volunteer, at the outbreak of the First World War. In 1917 he is a graduate of the University of Padova and, after the end of the war, he was assigned to the Military Hospital of Messina, with instructions to examine veterans who applied for a veteran’s pension. Here, in 1918, he began his work as a radiologist. For his work and revolutionary approach to the fight against cancer, in 1927, he was nominated Professor of Radiology at the University of Messina. Ettore Castronovo continued his humanitarian work at "Ospedale Piemonte", continuously exposed to massive radiation doses without adequate protection, he became increasingly weak and started to show the first signs of the illness that was consuming him. Notwithstanding this and aware of the serious risks, he never stopped and, in increasingly precarious conditions, continued his work. In a few years, his hands, his indispensable tool, were hit by various wounds which reduced them to two almost unusable stumps transforming the last years of his life in true martyrdom. Despite several surgical operations and amputations he underwent, the illness caused by radiation, was incurable and, on May 30th 1954, Ettore Castronovo, died at 60 years of age; a victim of the same illness against which he had fought all his life.


- N.Principato, L'ospedale "Piemonte" (1911-2011). Cento anni dalla più antica struttura ospedaliera di Messina, EDAS Editore, Messina 2011, pp. 81-83

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