Gianluca Selvaggi’s Remarkable Story: Discovering and Defeating Thyroid Cancer Through Ablation

Gianluca Selvaggi’s Remarkable Story: Discovering and Defeating Thyroid Cancer Through Ablation

Gianluca Selvaggi‘s Remarkable Story: Discovering and Defeating Thyroid Cancer Through Ablation

Discovering and Defeating Thyroid Cancer Through Ablation

In an intriguing episode of the Doctor Thyroid and RFAMD podcasts, hosted by Philip James, we get to hear an inspiring story from a man named Gianluca Selvaggi. His experience with thyroid cancer and the subsequent successful treatment with ablation serves as a beacon of hope for those facing similar diagnoses.

The Unusual Discovery

Selvaggi’s story is unique because he discovered his cancer in an unconventional manner – it was by sheer accident while “playing around” with ultrasound. During a visit to Dr. Roberto Valcavi‘s office to share some technology related to thyroid cancer, Dr. Valcavi performed a casual ultrasound check on Selvaggi’s neck. To their surprise, they discovered a small carcinoma, confirming the presence of papillary thyroid cancer.

Selvaggi described his initial reaction to the diagnosis as one of worry, which is not uncommon when confronted with the word ‘cancer’. However, Dr. Valcavi’s comforting approach and clear treatment pathway eased his anxieties.

Treatment with Ablation

Fast forward 20 days, Selvaggi underwent a radiofrequency ablation procedure – a non-surgical treatment that uses heat to destroy the cancer cells. The entire treatment took around 40-45 minutes, a significantly shorter period compared to conventional surgical methods. This was in May, and by the time Selvaggi joined the podcast in June, he reported feeling perfectly fine.

Selvaggi shared that he was able to resume his normal life within just a few days of treatment. He was back to playing football and mountain biking, emphasizing the non-invasive nature and swift recovery associated with ablation treatment.

Cancer-Free and Grateful

A month after treatment, Selvaggi joyfully reported being cancer-free. His experience speaks volumes about the effectiveness of ablation treatment for thyroid cancer, especially considering that he did not have to undergo surgery. He praised Dr. Valcavi for his skill and reassurance throughout the process, stating, “My neck is perfect.”

When asked what he would tell other patients diagnosed with thyroid cancer, Selvaggi urged trust in the treating clinicians and the technology at hand. His story demonstrates the immense potential of minimally invasive treatments like ablation, showing they can successfully cure cancer without causing significant disruption to the patient’s life.

Gianluca Selvaggi’s story is a powerful testament to modern medical advancements. Thanks to his chance ultrasound and the skilled work of Dr. Roberto Valcavi, Selvaggi was able to effectively treat his thyroid cancer, resuming his normal life just days after treatment. His tale underscores the importance of having reliable clinicians and trusting in new technologies that have the potential to revolutionize patient outcomes.


About Philip James

In 2013, his laryngeal nerve was severed, shoulder nerve damaged, parathyroids ruined, and residual cancer left behind — all for a 1 cm thyroid nodule.
Later, a vocal cord implant was inserted to help him speak.

The word he uses to describe his work as patient advocate is, ‘tonglen’. Or, using his pain and hardship to help others.


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