The Vatican on Wednesday dismissed a local report that Pope Francis has a benign, curable brain tumor. Italian newspaper Quotidiano Nazionale carried a story on its front page Wednesday that the pope was diagnosed with a tumor some time back, which could be cured without a surgery.

"The circulation of entirely unfounded news regarding the health of the Holy Father by an Italian newspaper is gravely irresponsible and unworthy of attention. Furthermore, as is clearly evident, the Pope is carrying out his very intense activity in an [sic] totally normal way," Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said in a statement.

The newspaper stated that the 78-year-old Argentine pontiff went to Tuscany to see a Japanese doctor. The scans conducted by the doctor showed a small, dark spot on Francis’ brain, the daily added.

Andrea Cangini, Quotidiano Nazionale’s editor, stood by the story and said the newspaper expected the Vatican’s denial over the issue. Cangini said the paper had contemplated whether to publish the report, but decided to go ahead as it believed in the article's authenticity. The editor added that people had the right to be informed about public figures such as the heads of state or government, and that the same applied to the pope.

The pope is scheduled to visit Africa for the first time in November. He is expected to make trips to Kenya, Uganda and the Central African Republic between Nov. 25 and Nov. 30.