Pancreatic Cancer – Steve Jobs story

The Pancreas

The pancreas is an organ situated behind the stomach and before the spine. The pancreas produces stomach related juices and hormones that manage glucose blood level. Cells called exocrine pancreas cells create the digestive juices, while cells called endocrine pancreas cells deliver the hormones.

The Cancer

Pancreatic tumor is a malady in which dangerous cells form in the tissues of the pancreas. The larger part of pancreatic tumors begin in the exocrine cells. Pancreatic malignancy ordinarily spreads quickly to adjacent organs. It is rarely recognized in its early stages. Be that as it may, for individuals with pancreatic cysts or a family history of pancreatic growth, health screening may help detect an early problem.

Causes and Symptoms

Nobody knows precisely what causes this pancreatic disease. In the same way as other cancers, the median age at diagnosis is around 71.

Side effects regularly include stomach pain that irradiates to the back and weight reduction. Since the pancreas is close to the spine, back pains are normal. It at times makes individuals itch everywhere on their bodies. Around 70% of pancreatic malignancies begin in what specialists allude to as the head of the pancreas, which is the bulbous end of the organ. The tumor can obstruct the normal bile channel, which drains the gallbladder and liver. As a result, the waste product bilirubin backs up and gets into the blood. Outcomes include jaundice, yellow staining of the skin and the eyes.

Around 70% of pancreatic malignancies begin in what specialists allude to as the head of the pancreas, which is the bulbous end of the organ.

One sign of pancreatic disease is diabetes, particularly when it happens with weight reduction, jaundice or agony in the upper abdomen that spreads to the back.


Be that as it may, preventing the ailment is by a long shot the best game-plan.Smoking is the clearest risk factor. Its avoidance is the surest counteractive action tip. After you’ve eliminated the habit, in several years your risk becomes the same as if you never smoked.

Different approaches that help avoid pancreatic tumor include keeping up a sound weight, exercise frequently, constraining the utilization of alcohol, and eating a Mediterranean-style diet.


Surgery gives the most obvious opportunity with regards to cure. In any case, the specialist finds that even a restricted tumor may be inoperable. If the tumor can be removed, the specialist may remove all or part of the pancreas, and additionally parts of close-by organs.

Keeping some of the pancreas is preferred because otherwise, the patient must cope with a sudden loss of insulin production and diabetes as well as life-threatening cancer.

If the cancer is in the head, the surgeon may decide to perform the Whipple technique, an operation that includes removing the head of the pancreas plus parts of the small digestive tract, bile duct, and stomach. If the tumor is another part, surgeons may remove that part of the pancreas plus the spleen.

Steve Jobs and Pancreatic Cancer

If the Apple genius had suffered the most frequent form of pancreatic cancer, adenocarcinoma, the chances are he would have died soon after his 2003 diagnosis. But as Jobs later revealed, he had an uncommon form of pancreatic cancer known as islet cell carcinoma.

In 2004, nine months after his analysis, Jobs experienced surgery to remove the tumor. In 2009 he got a liver transplant, a procedure appropriate for only few patients with this uncommon form of pancreatic cancer.

Jobs is said to have undergone the Whipple method. This is the favored kind of surgery when an islet cell tumor is on the pancreas head.

Once it was clear that Jobs had the rare islet-cell pancreatic cancer, there was an excellent chance of a cure. According to Cleveland Clinic gastroenterologist Maged Rizk, MD, there’s an overall 80% to 90% chance of 5-year survival.

“In the world of cancer survival, that’s a huge milestone. I don’t think waiting nine months for surgery was a bad decision…“Especially if it is limited disease, especially if it is an islet-cell tumor and the cells are [typical of early cancer], and as long as you don’t have symptoms, you can sit on it a bit.”

Despite the fact that it’s currently known that Jobs got a liver transplant in Tennessee, it’s not clear why. Be that as it may, few patients with islet cell carcinoma may undergo liver transplant if their malignancy has spread only to the liver.

A very small group of patients with metastatic neuroendocrine tumors can be treated with liver transplant — and this can be curative. Cancer however can recur after the liver transplant. When this happens, it carries a very poor prognosis and imminent death.

Pancreatic Cancer – Steve Jobs story was written by Dr. Nnamdi Elenwoke

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