Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Steve Jobs Fight with Pancreatic Cancer


It is understandable that the top Google search inquiries today are linked to the Apple’s CEO, Steve Jobs, decision to step down. Apple’s Board of Directors today announced that Steve Jobs has resigned as Chief Executive Officer, and the Board has named Tim Cook, previously Apple’s Chief Operating Officer, as the company’s new CEO. Jobs has been elected Chairman of the Board and Cook will join the Board, effective immediately.

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Here's Steve's letter to the board and community:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come. I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee. As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple. I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role. I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.

While there are multiple potential aspects for further discussion and speculations, I would like review the main reason for this, unexpected for many, decision. And the reason is – Pancreatic Cancer – one of the most deadly illnesses today.

Steve Jobs has battled a rare form of pancreatic cancer for years, undergoing a series of aggressive treatments, including a liver transplant, and surviving longer than many others with the disease.

Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer, called a neuroendocrine tumor, in 2003, but his illness was not disclosed until the following year, after he'd tried a special diet treatment and had surgery.

In June 2008, he appeared at a trade event looking thin and frail. Apple said he was suffering from a "bug," but reports later surfaced that he had surgery and lost weight as a result. In January 2009, Jobs said a hormone imbalance had caused his weight loss. Two weeks later he gave up daily oversight of Apple for six months, saying his health problems were more serious. That June, a Memphis hospital confirmed that Jobs had had a liver transplant.

His latest announcement could be a sign that his pancreatic cancer has returned, says Richard Goldberg, a professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Goldberg has no knowledge of Jobs' case but says the most likely reason for a setback is that the tumor has spread into the transplanted liver. It's also possible Jobs' body is rejecting the transplant, although that is more likely soon after a transplant, he says.

All pancreatic cancers are serious, but Jobs' type of tumor was much less lethal than most pancreatic cancers, from which patients often succumb in months. Some people who have what Jobs had survive for many years, Goldberg says.

Jobs has not said why he had a liver transplant, but neuroendocrine tumors often spread to the liver. It's possible that his original liver was damaged by treatment for the tumor, Goldberg says.

About Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer of the pancreas barely makes the top 10 most common cancers in the U.S. However, pancreatic cancer's tendency to spread silently before diagnosis makes it the fourth deadliest cancer diagnosis. Yes, the biggest problem with this type of the disease is a fact that tumor or cancer in the pancreas may often grow without any substantial symptoms at first, or even with no symptoms at all.

Therefore, pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis, even when diagnosed early. It typically spreads rapidly and is seldom detected in its early stages, which is a major reason why it's a leading cause of cancer death. Signs and symptoms may not appear until pancreatic cancer is quite advanced and surgical removal isn't possible. Still, if pancreatic cancer is caught early, the tumor may be removed by surgery and the disease may be controlled.

Pancreatic cancer begins in the tissues of the pancreas — an organ in the abdomen that lies horizontally behind the lower part of the stomach. The pancreas is a gland that serves two basic functions – exocrine and endocrine:
  • The exocrine function makes chemicals that break down protein, and it delivers these chemicals right into the digestive tract. Most of the pancreas is devoted to this function, and tumors are more likely located here.
  • A smaller part of the pancreas is devoted to the endocrine function, which makes insulin and glucagon. The pancreas puts insulin and glucagon directly into your bloodstream to help your body burn or store sugar. Cancers in this area are very rare.

Steve Jobs is diagnosed with the second, much less frequent, and not so deadly, type of the disease. His tumor reportedly is one of five types that begin in hormone-producing cells. "People can co-exist with this disease for years," says Richard Goldberg, an expert in neuroendocrine tumors at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, who has not treated Jobs. If the liver begins to fail, however, "people can go downhill pretty quickly. When you hit the wall, you hit the wall."

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Only about 10% of people with metastatic disease — cancer that has spread around the body — survive this type of tumor, Goldberg says.

Hopefully, Steve Jobs will be among those 10%, who will manage to survive. Wish him full recovery, as far as that is possible for the cancer survivors.

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2 comments:

Steve Job Death said...

At this time the sudden death of Steve I want to Share my heartfelt CONDOLENCES. Let his soul rest in PEACE in the feet of ALMIGHTY.

Michael Pekker (AKA Nesher) said...

Amen!