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Apple Businesses

Steve Jobs Undergoes Cancer Surgery 413

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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  • Detection? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:15PM (#9860984)
    "can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was)"

    How do you dected pancreatic cancer early, i didnt know you could screen for it.
  • by cytoman ( 792326 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:30PM (#9861067)
    Now that his islet cells have been removed, I guess Steve Jobs is now a Type-1 diabetic, condemned to survive on iNSULIN iNJECTIONS like many others (including me). Or maybe he'll get one of those hi-tech insulin pump/blood glucose monitor combos... i hope that stem-cell research now accelerates its effort to find a cure for type-1 diabetes. Poor taste in humor acknowledged (see above use of iNSULIN) and apologies submitted in advance.
  • last line (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeffehobbs ( 419930 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:32PM (#9861077) Homepage

    the last line of his memo:

    PS: I'm sending this from my hospital bed using my 17-inch PowerBook and an Airport Express.

    Note he stops just short of asserting it was the Airport Express that cured his cancer...

    In all seriousness, any time anyone beats cancer it is Good News. Has there been any reports on how the cancer was caught so quickly?

  • Re:Detection? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:48PM (#9861155)
    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. Somebody else mentioned some uber-blood screening tests - I've never heard of these, but it does sound like a good idea. In fact, I'm surprised more hasn't been done on that.

    In any case, he's insanely lucky. Pancreatic cancer in general is very bad news - very difficult area to get to, tough to treat.

  • by SuperBanana ( 662181 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:49PM (#9861165)
    Simple as this ... no Steve Jobs ... no Apple computers ... no iMac, iCal, iPod, iBook

    Hate to break it to you, but here's sorta how it works.

    Jobs says "let's make an MP3 player better than anything else out there", or someone suggests it, and Jobs says "OK, let's look into it".

    One person sees what "anything else" has. Another sees what people might be willing to pay. Another runs some numbers on what it might cost to build. Another works on a little concept art based on what the engineers think is reasonable in terms of size etc.

    Then everyone comes back and presents their stuff- not necessarily to Steve, maybe someone under him, who then brings it to him. Jobs says "hey, looks like we can do this and make money off it. Let's whip up some prototypes", etc.

  • by micron ( 164661 ) on Sunday August 01, 2004 @11:51PM (#9861170)
    First, I am an Apple fan. Go Steve Go!

    As a shareholder, and considering that Apple is a public company, does Jobs have a successor?

    Case and point: We all saw what happened last time Steve left. He came back and essentially saved the company from destruction. He was quoted as saying something along the lines of "I am not going to let someone wreck this company again".

    From what I see, Apple = Steve. Apple's success lies in Steve's hands, or more to the point, as goes Jobs, goes Apple.

    Does anyone have insight on this? What happens if something happens and Steve is not at the helm any more? Does Apple die with him?
  • PET scan (Score:2, Interesting)

    by quetzalc0atl ( 722663 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:18AM (#9861281)
    I would not be surprised if his tumor was detected using a somewhat-newly developed technology known as a PET (positron emission tomography) scan.

    The one thing that all cancerous cells have in common is a heavily anaerobic metabolism that works very quickly in order to support the continual state of mitosis that cancerous cells are in. An amount of radio-tagged sugars are introduced into the body and an image can then be created where areas that metabolize the most show up the darkest. Some areas are obviously normal tissues that simply use more sugar (muscle tissue, liver, etc.) but an area that stands out could be a candidate for further testing.
  • Re:last line (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Basehart ( 633304 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:26AM (#9861318)
    I've been looking around for the kind of symptoms that these really nasty pancreatic cancers produce and it seems there are few that show themselves until it's basically kind of too late. So, I'm guessing he gets a full body scan of some kind every six months - not something your local health care provider will get too excited about.

    One pointer is that he leads such a healthy lifestyle, so no smoking/overweight triggers (apart from all the stress) which leads me to think it may be a genetic issue that his doctor was aware of.
  • by kfg ( 145172 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:29AM (#9861332)
    . . .basically "designed by proxy" from Steve Jobs yelling at people.

    You could pretty much substitute William Lear or Enzo Ferrari for Steve's name in that sentence. It's not an umcommon way of going about things for the smaller, elite company founded by a charismatic leader.

  • by MouseR ( 3264 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @12:37AM (#9861354) Homepage
    Well, here's my moderation points going away for this reply.

    If you'd be a little more informed, you'd know from talking with Apple engineers (lite I do at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference) that Jobs actually has a say in everything.

    He actually overseas both software and hardware development to the point of butting in on designs/features/implementation and repeatedly looks over your shoulder to make sure it's as he wants it to be.

    At first, I'm told, this is nerve-wrecking and eventually, Apple engineerings rely on this and some actually appreciate it when comes the time where Jobs has nothing much to say about your product. Engineers told me, "it's at that point we usually know we have a winner".

    (All jokes aside, I've not heard this specific comment about the Mac Cube :-)
  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @10:06AM (#9862306)
    It was diagnosed by a sudden case of jaundice- turning orange and peeing black. The pancreas outlet is near the bile duct, so the tumor messed that up. This is basically a good sign, because if you diagnois it by adominal pain, it has probably spread too far for the operation.
    The Whipple operation removes a good fraction of your digestive system- part of pancreas, part of stomach, part of colon, gall bladder. My friend lost 50 pounds from post-op recovery and radiation. However has gained half that back. He's had to learn how to eat on a diminished digestive system. A sliver of the pancreas was left, so no insulin is necessary.
  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:36AM (#9862878)
    First: Steve, best wishes and speedy recovery. Millions of people are praying for you and wishing you well.

    Second: Does anyone think this will serve as a 'wake up' call to Apple's leadership and innovation practices?

    I am a Switcher and what I found when I started following the world-that-is-Apple that Steve === Apple. He was a founder, when he was outed the company went on a death spiral, when he came back it got a second life with the 1st gen iMac and now Appel rules digital music.

    But is that the best way to run a company? Certainly you NEED a strong leader, but it seems a bit pied piper to me. What would the next years look like for Apple if Steve had had terminal cancer? Has Apple grown into an organization that can go on without him?

    I work for a small business and our founder and president of three decades will soon retire. He has run his company very patriarchially (sp) and it has been interesting to see senior managment change their styles to rely less upon the president for decision making and instead, take that on themselves.

    I use that as an illustration of growing pains that Apple may one day soon face. How to instil the innovation and business savvy of Steve Jobs throughout the organization so that Apple will be a strong company well past Steve's tenure.
  • Re:haha what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @11:48AM (#9862969)
    They don't allow cell phone usage in hospitals because they cause interference with equipment. Wonder how they feel about wireless networking??
  • Lucky! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Misanthropy ( 31291 ) on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:22PM (#9863587)
    Wow! He's very lucky they caught it early. Most people don't survive pancreatic cancer as it will usually metastisize much easier than other cancer types.
    Interesting coincidence that I just had a lecture (med school) this morning about a pancreatic cancer case and then get on slashdot to read that Jobs has it.
    I wish him well. It's one of the worst cancers to get.
  • Re:Detection? (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 02, 2004 @01:30PM (#9863625)
    Often, things like this are detected when looking for something else. My VERY early primary liver cancer was detected inadvertantly during a followup scan due to some kidney stones (Kidney stones saved my life!)

    Just as likely, he gets an annual CT and it picked it up. Otherwise, by the time you have symptoms you are generally in trouble.
  • by ooze ( 307871 ) on Tuesday August 03, 2004 @03:36AM (#9867389)
    Nothing wrong with enterprises heavily based on one person...As long as the person properly takes care of successors.

    While the biggest flaw in democracy is that the inept cripple the apted (the efficiency of the whole system is the product of the efficiency of it's parts...and noone can tell me there is no null in any parlament), the biggest flaw in single leadership is that is was most of the time more or less chance that the people getting the job were capable of it. A monarchy, when the crown is given to one descendent, is very prone to giving it to an inept. It was no coincidence, that the roman Empire started to diminish, when passing the title to a close relative became the custom. Before that the Emperor most of the time adopted some givted child and educated and trained it carefully to be the successor, Marc Aurelius being a most notable example. The rise of Prussia was the result of an incredible strain of luck of having 4-5 very different, but very able kings in succession.

    But well, we are talking about companies, so probably I'm talking nonsense.

Logic is the chastity belt of the mind!