Pope Francis on Monday urged Catholics to take care of the sick, saying this made them an invaluable source of wealth for society and "a conscious instrument of grace".
"Every Christian filled with a desire to do good, “is a conscious instrument of grace," Francis said at the Vatican in remarks to the Italian League for the Fight against Tumours.
Families affected by cancer need to be accompanied "on a path of prevention that involves their various generations in a social solidarity pact," Francis stated.
"But just as precious is the help from volunteers in collaboration with public and private health providers, as well the assistance to families that allows them to continue their often wearing and relentless daily lives."
Members of the Church are "called by vocation and mission" to be at the service of those who suffer, "offering support, comfort and tenderness," Francis observed.
The pontiff underlined the importance of helping those "on the peripheries of society" who have to deal with a disease like cancer.
"Health is a primary and fundamental good for all," he said, stressing that cancer prevention should not be "based on economic interests."