The Vatican is denying a report in an Italian newspaper that Pope Francis has a small, curable brain tumor.

The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the report Wednesday in the National Daily was "unfounded and seriously irresponsible."

"The pope is carrying out as always with his intense activities," Lombardi said in a statement.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said the pope had traveled to the San Rossore di Barbaricina clinic near Pisa in recent months to see a Japanese specialist, Dr. Takanori Fukushima. The newspaper said the doctor determined that the small dark spot on Francis' brain could be cured without surgery.

The newspaper's editor, Andrea Cangini, said it expected Lombardi's denial but stood by its story.

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