The pharmacologist: “There is no data to indicate a link”
“All the hypotheses can legitimately be made about the cases of tumors among footballers. But there is no data that indicates a link between having taken so-called performance-enhancing substances in the past and a higher risk of developing a tumor today. At the moment, from a scientific point of view, we don’t know if there is this link”. This is how Silvio Garattini, founder and president of the Mario Negri Irccs Institute for Pharmacological Research at Adnkronos Salute, comments on the recent interviews of some former Serie A footballers worried, after the deaths of colleagues Vialli and Mihajlović, of a link between some drugs taken during the career and the risk of developing cancer.
“As Istituto Mario Negri – recalls Garattini – we have documented the problem of the prevalence of ALS in footballers, we have found important data, but we do not know what the cause is. We have thought of the herbicides used on football fields which could then also be a of the causes of some cancers”. According to the pharmacologist, beyond the media attention, the time has come to scientifically investigate what happened in past deaths. “A greater interest from the FIGC and the Lega Serie A would be needed – he suggests – in making the data available from which we scientists could then start for a maxi study. For the one on ALS we had to use Panini’s photo albums. I wonder why not there is the desire to investigate further, a valid prevention could also be carried out on young footballers. The State – he concludes – could take charge of the economic resources necessary to carry out this study on former footballers”.