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Apple Businesses

Steve Jobs Undergoes Cancer Surgery 413

Posted by timothy
from the get-well-soon-steve dept.
Zycom writes "Reuters reports that doctors successfully removed a cancerous tumor from the pancreas of Apple CEO Steve Jobs. In an e-mail he sent out from his hospital bed after the surgery he explained the disease, saying, "I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year, and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was)." He will not need to have any chemotherapy or radiation therapy and has an excellent prognosis. While he is recuperating, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations, will run the company."
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Steve Jobs Undergoes Cancer Surgery

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  • All Jokes Aside (Score:5, Informative)

    by orion024 (694922) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:15PM (#9860980)
    I'm glad all is going well for him. He's lucky he fell into that rare 1%. Pancreatic cancer is one of the more deadly types of cancer.
  • Re:Detection? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:18PM (#9861007)
    Guys with insane wealth get preventative yearly CT scans.
  • Re:Detection? (Score:2, Informative)

    by erick99 (743982) <homerun@gmail.com> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:24PM (#9861040)
    You develop any of a host of symptoms that cause you to see your doctor, who, in the course of diagnosing what ails you, discovers that your problem is within your pancreas. Sort of like going to a physician because of "stress headaches" and finding out that you have a brain tumour.

    Cheers,

    Erick

  • by SYFer (617415) <syfer&syfer,net> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:27PM (#9861055) Homepage
    Uh, sorry to double up, but BTW: LIVESTRONG [laf.org] is Lance Armstrong's Cancer Survivor non-profit. That yellow armband that you see on John Kerry's wrist--it's related to this. If you are a MAC (couldn't resist) fanboi, please give a few bucks in Steve's name.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:33PM (#9861083)
    Though not foolproof, you can sometimes detect specific cancer signatures via blood tests. There's new technolgies called "SELDI" where high troughput mass spectrometry is done : ciphergen press release here. [ciphergen.com] There's a lot of kinks to work out to take this out of the research labs and into the clinics; but there is promise here. There's been some problems with people fucking up their research using this tool.
  • Re:Alrighty then! (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperBanana (662181) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:36PM (#9861098)
    Jobs was informed, prior to surgery, that there were no user serviceable parts within his pancreas but he could have his pancreas refurbished/rebuilt for a reasonable fee.

    Not quite- his warranty covers everything, except that little bit of his pancreas.

    (I discovered a few weeks ago that the little flippy part of my power adapter..duck-something is what the guy at the store called it... is not covered by warranty, supposedly. Probably because they break like crazy. 3-goddam-thousand-dollar laptop and they want to charge me $20 for the little flippy power plug bit).

  • Re:Detection? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:45PM (#9861141)
    Cancer in the pancreas often leads to urinating blood. It also hurts pretty badly. And the process for testing for a tumor is... unpleasant (personally, I would rather have them knock me out beforehand).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:46PM (#9861146)
    Not really, you cannot remove all of the beta cells (the ones that produce insulin) in a pancreas w/o removing the entire thing.

    They just took out a tumor.

  • Re:Detection? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:46PM (#9861149)
    Ah, but by this time it is too late. I know this is as I have a parent who died of pancreatic cancer.
  • Re:Alrighty then! (Score:5, Informative)

    by stuffman64 (208233) <stuffman@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:49PM (#9861159) Homepage
    The most ironic thing about this, is that it is at least partially true. Former Xerox CEO David T. Kearns was diagnosed with sinus cancer in 1992 [democratandchronicle.com].

    For those that don't know, Kearns was they guy in charge in the 80s during Xerox's turnaround.
  • Who knew.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by lpontiac (173839) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:00AM (#9861205)
    .. that the reality distortion field was ionising?
  • Medical Information (Score:5, Informative)

    by cytoman (792326) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:04AM (#9861219)
    I got this from http://www.umm.edu/ency/article/000393.htm [umm.edu] Pancreatic islet cell tumor

    Overview

    Definition:
    A pancreatic islet cell tumor is an uncommon tumor of the pancreas that arises from a distinct type of cell in the pancreas, the islet cell. Normally, islet cells produce insulin and other hormones, and islet cell tumors can also produce hormones.

    Alternative Names:
    Islet cell tumors; Islet of Langerhans tumor; Neuroendocrine tumors

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors:

    In the normal pancreas, cells called islet cells produce hormones that regulate a variety of bodily functions, such as blood sugar level and the production of stomach acid.

    Tumors that arise from islet cells of the pancreas can also produce a variety of hormones, though some do not. Although islet cells produce many different hormones, most tumors secrete only one specific hormone that leads to specific symptoms. Pancreatic islet cell tumors can be benign or malignant (cancerous).

    Islet cell tumors include insulinomas, glucagonomas, and gastrinomas (Zollinger-Ellison syndrome). A family history of multiple endocrine neoplasia, type I (MEN I) is a risk factor for the development of islet cell tumors.

    Symptoms:
    * Sweating
    * Tremor
    * Rapid heart rate
    * Anxiety
    * Hunger
    * Dizziness
    * Headache
    * Clouding of vision
    * Confusion
    * Behavioral changes
    * Convulsions
    * Loss of consciousness
    * Skin rash that migrates on the face, abdomen, perineum, buttocks, or lower extremities
    o May be crusty and scaly
    o May have raised lesions filled with clear fluid or pus
    * Inflamed mouth and tongue
    * Weight loss
    * Weight gain (unintentional)
    * Peptic ulcer pain
    * Vomiting blood
    * Diarrhea
    * Abdominal pain

    Note: The symptoms depend upon the type of tumor and the hormone produced.

    Signs and tests:
    The type of tests performed may vary depending upon the symptoms associated with the condition. Some of the following abnormalities may be detected on testing:

    * elevated serum glucagon level
    * an abdominal CT scan may reveal a pancreatic tumor (sometimes the tumor may be too small to see with a CT scan)
    * elevated fasting glucose level
    * abnormal glucose tolerance test
    * catheterization of the pancreas to show high hormone level in the veins (this involves putting a wire into a blood vessel and taking blood out for measurements)
    * MRI of abdomen to show pancreatic tumor (MRI can sometimes see smaller tumors than those seen with a CT scan)
    * elevated serum insulin level
    * elevated serum insulin C-peptide
    * low fasting glucose level
    * increased gastrin level
    * positive secretin stimulation test for pancreas
    * positive calcium infusion test

    Treatment:
    Treatment will depend upon the type of tumor discovered and whether the tumor is benign or malignant. Malignant tumors spread to other organs, grow aggressively, and may not be treatable. In general, tumors are removed surgically, if possible.

    If malignant cancerous cells spread (metastasize) to the liver, a portion of the liver may also be removed, if possible. If the cancer is widespread, various forms of chemotherapy may be used to shrink the tumors.

    If the abnormal production of hormones is causing problems, medications may be given to counteract their effects. For example, the overproduction of gastrin in the case of gastrinomas results in oversecretion of acid in the stomach, and medications that block acid secretion can be taken to reduce symptoms.

    Expectations (prognosis):
    Patients may be cured if tumors are surgically removed before they have spread to other organs. If tumors are malignant, chemotherapy may be used, but is usually unsuccessful at cur

  • by a-aiyar (528921) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:06AM (#9861229) Homepage
    There has been a lot of speculation about how Steve Jobs' cancer was diagnosed, and whether he has annuals CT scans or MRIs.

    I don't know if he does, but the neuroendocrine tumor in his islet cells would have affected insulin production which in turn would have caused symptoms such as:

    • intense sweating, anxiety, hunger
    • tremor, rapid heart rate
    • dizziness, obscured vision
    • rapid fluctuations in weight
    • diarrhea, abdominal pain, possible vomiting of blood

    Steve's doctors would have tested for a number of things including:

    • elevated serum glucagon
    • elevated fasting glucose levels, and high glucose tolerance
    • elevated levels of serum insulin
    • possibly increased levels of gastrin (which would cause the increased hunger)

    They would have have then ordered abdominal MRI scans, because these tumors (in the Islet of Langerhans) would likely be too small to see by CT scans). If the MRIs were positive, surgery would be next.

    If the tumor had metastasized, a portion of the liver would have also been removed, and chemotherapy would have been used. As that appears not to be the case, Steve's tumor is likely a pre-malignant lesion.

  • Re:All Jokes Aside (Score:1, Informative)

    by IBX (793635) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:11AM (#9861253)
    surgery success does not guarantee a cure. Cure means staying 5+ years without remission.
  • Re:Detection? (Score:4, Informative)

    by paxil (99137) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:29AM (#9861329)

    This is actually an interesting question. I am not specifically aware of any general screening possible for pancreatic cancer either. There are many blood markers that can be positive for specific cancer types, but it seems more likely that an MRI or CT scan for something else (unrelated) showed this tumor.


    Actualy, that is probobly not how it went down.

    One can think of the pancreas as functionaly divided into two systems: the exocrine pancreas and the endocrine pancreas.

    The exocrine pancreas is involved in the digestion of food and is where the vast majority of pancreatic tumors occur. One of the reasons they are so often fatal is that tumors of the exocrine pancreas rarely produce symptoms befor they extend into other structures.

    The endocrine pancreas produces several hormones, including insulin, glucogon, VIP, somatostatin, and so on. Tumors of this portion of the pancreas often do produce symptoms secondary to overproduction of one or more of these hormones.

    Jobs tumor was one of the endocrine types (he does not say more specificaly) so it would not be unusual for his tumor to have prompted studies which led to its detection.

    All just speculation, of course.
  • Re:Get well.... (Score:3, Informative)

    by ericdano (113424) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:38AM (#9861356) Homepage
    Lets see. Start here [vt.edu] and get enlightened.
  • Use the long cable. (Score:4, Informative)

    by Trillan (597339) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:05AM (#9861430) Homepage Journal

    The flippy one is only two prong. If you're connected to a USB item without ground, you'll get a shock through the case of the Powerbook if you're using only the two prong adapter.

    It happened to me a lot when I was overseas with flakey main power.

  • Duck Head. (Score:4, Informative)

    by SKorvus (685199) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:39AM (#9861510) Homepage
    "Duck head". Called that because it looks vaguely like a Disney(R) trademarked character when viewed at the right angle. If you squint. It's true it's not normally covered by warranty: they're very simple physical parts that would only normally break due to abuse by a user. If you can explain the nature of the failure to AppleCare support, and indicate you didn't mistreat the poor thing, they might send you a free one. Hope this helps. :-)
  • In other news... (Score:5, Informative)

    by ModernGeek (601932) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:43AM (#9861522) Homepage
    ... one of the authors of PearPC was hit by a train and killed.

    More on their site [sourceforge.net]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @10:41AM (#9862487)
    Neuroendocrine tumors are often too small to be seen on a MRI. Often they are found by injecting the patient with radioisotope-tagged antibodies that bind to the specific hormone that the tumor is producing and then the tumor shows up on a PET scan.
  • Prognosis (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tucan (60206) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:43AM (#9862950)
    Because this is a rare tumor there is not a lot of information available about the expected duration of survival following diagnosis. Based on a very small study of patients who had surgical treatment for nonfunctioning neuroendocrine tumors of the pancreas (the relevant category for neuroendocrine tumors) the median survival among patients is more than 10 years if the cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes. If the lymph nodes are positive for cancer then median survival is about 6 years. Because these statistics are based on only a few cases it is really impossible to say what Steve's individual prognosis would be. However, he's clearly better off with this type of tumor than with an adenocarcinoma, which has a median survival of about 18 months for the 20% of patients who are lucky enough to be diagnosed early enough to have surgery. Median survival is only about 4-5 months among those for whom surgery is not an option.

    I hope things continue to go well for him.
  • by toddhisattva (127032) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:25PM (#9863241) Homepage
    For the 63rd consecutive week, coming in at #1 on the New York Times fiction list, is the New York Times!
  • by Daynras (802230) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:38PM (#9863653)
    Bill Hicks [wikipedia.org] died from pancreatic cancer on February 26, 1994.

    He was a stand up comedian known for his controversial political topics, showing a --fairly uncommon-- tendency to tell the simple, naked truth.

    I wish all the Bills out there were the same... yes Mr. Gates, I am talking to you :)))

    Here there are some of his quotes [wikiquote.org].

    In these strange days we are living, we cannot afford forgetting his humour.

The first version always gets thrown away.

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