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Patron Saints of Cancer Patients

Updated on February 6, 2013
15th century rendering of The Presentation by Filippo Lippi. Saint Peregrine is shown on the right.
15th century rendering of The Presentation by Filippo Lippi. Saint Peregrine is shown on the right. | Source

The patron saint of all cancer patients is Saint Peregrine Laziosi (1260 – 1345). Late in life, Saint Peregrine developed what was most likely skin cancer on his foot. The only “cure” was amputation. Before the operation, Peregrine saw a vision of Jesus who touched and healed his foot.

Bladder Cancer - Saint Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 – 1167): See note for Renal Cancer.

Brain Cancer – Saint Gemma Galgani (1878 – 1903): Saint Gemma Galgani is the patron saint of brain cancer patients because she suffered from a brain tumor prior to being healed by Christ and receiving the stigmata.

17th century picture by Giovanni Lanfranco showing Saint Agatha with Saint Peter
17th century picture by Giovanni Lanfranco showing Saint Agatha with Saint Peter | Source

Breast Cancer – Saint Agatha (c 231 – c 251) and Saint Aldegonde (c 639 – 684): Saint Agatha is the patron saint of breast cancer patients because, while she was imprisoned for being a Christian, she was tortured by having her breasts removed. Saint Aldegonde is also venerated because she died of breast cancer.

Cervical Cancer – See notes for Uterine Cancer and Testicular Cancer.

Colon Cancer - Saint Timothy (c 17 – c 97) and Saint Charles Borromeo (1538 -1584): See note for Stomach Cancer.

Leukemia – Saint Januarius (died c 305): Saint Januarius is the patron saint of blood banks and blood diseases because, after his death, his blood miraculously began to flow again and healed an ailing woman.

16th century painting of the martyrdom of Saint Erasmus
16th century painting of the martyrdom of Saint Erasmus | Source

Liver Cancer – Saint Erasmus of Formiae (died c 303): Saint Erasmus, sometimes called Saint Elmo, is the patron saint of liver disease patients because of the horrific tortures he underwent during the Diocletian Persecution. He is also often called upon for relief from other abdominal ailments.

Lung Cancer – Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (1873 – 1897): Saint Thérèse of Lisieux is the patron saint of those suffering from lung ailments because of her death from tuberculosis at the age of 24. Saint Bernardine of Siena (1380 – 1444) is sometimes invoked as well.

Lymphoma – Saint Januarius (died c 305): See note for Leukemia.

Ovarian Cancer – I have not discovered a saint specifically for ovarian health. However, I feel Saint Gianna Molla, patroness to the pro-life cause, is a logical candidate.

Prostate Cancer -- So far, I have not discovered a patron saint for prostate cancer patients. I will continue searching. However, I feel Saint Joseph, foster father of Jesus, and Saint Isidore the Farmer (c 1070 -1130) are ideal candidates for the time-being.

Renal Cancer – Saint Aelred of Rievaulx (1110 – 1167): It is thought Saint Aelred suffered from kidney stones late in life, thus making him the patron saint invoked against all kidney diseases. Some sources suggest his illness was bladder stones.

Skin Cancer – Saint Peregrine and Saint Roch (1295 – 1327): Saint Peregrine is the patron saint of skin cancer patients for reasons already mentioned. Saint Roch, also known as Saint Rocco, is venerated as well because of his ability to heal the sick during an outbreak of bubonic plague.

Stomach Cancer – Saint Timothy (c 17 – c 97) and Saint Charles Borromeo (1538 -1584): Saint Timothy is the patron saint of stomach cancer patients because, in Saint Paul’s first letter to him, he is advised to “take a little wine for the sake of [his] your stomach” 1 Timothy 5:23. For reasons I do not know, Charles Borromeo is also often called upon for relief from stomach ailments.

Testicular Cancer – Saint Vitalis of Assisi (1295 – 1370): Saint Vitalis of Assisi is the patron saint of all genital diseases.

Throat Cancer – Saint Blaise (died c 316): Saint Blaise is the patron saint of all throat diseases because, according to legend, he healed a child who had a fishbone stuck in its throat.

Uterine Cancer – Saint Gianna Molla (1922 – 1962): Although she has not been officially declared the patron saint of uterine cancer patients, she can ideally be called upon because she died after refusing to have an abortion as part of the treatment for a benign uterine tumor.

© 2013 LastRoseofSummer2

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    • ologsinquito profile image

      ologsinquito 4 years ago from USA

      What a nice hub. I learned a great deal reading this. Let's keep these saints busy right now because so many people are fighting cancer.