Kocim - 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.
His decision to step down as Apple’s CEO, however, signals that his disease — kept in check for more than seven years — is advancing beyond doctors’ ability to control it, experts say.
While no one can say how Jobs will fare, “I suspect we will not be talking about years” of additional survival, says Zev Wainberg, a gastrointestinal oncologist with UCLA’s Jonsson Cancer Center with no personal knowledge of the case.
Jobs suffers from a pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor, which accounts for only about 5% of the 43,000 pancreatic cancers diagnosed each year, and is generally more curable than more common types of pancreatic cancer, says Margaret Tempero, a pancreatic cancer expert at the University of California-San Francisco and former president of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Patients with the most common form of pancreatic cancer often live less than a year, says Tempero, who hasn’t treated Jobs.
Neuroendocrine tumors, which arise in hormone-producing cells of the pancreas, typically grow much more slowly, allowing patients to live at least two or three years, says Wainberg, who hasn’t treated Jobs.
Unless the disease is completely eradicated, however, the cancer eventually takes a turn for the worse, growing much more quickly, Wainberg says.
“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.”
Only about 10% of people with metastatic disease — cancer that has spread around the body — survive this type of tumor, Goldberg says.
With Jobs’ work ethic and strong love of his job, doctors say his decision to resign as Apple CEO suggests that he must be feeling very ill.
[via - Surroundedme]