Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Dad. Steve Jobs. Two lives. One cancer.

Throughout the years of Steve Jobs' very public battle with pancreatic cancer, I kept thinking of my Dad (who passed away 10 years ago this December).  Dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer on the same day that a work colleague died of the disease.   I was shaken the same day by Dad's news and the news of John Vitello's death.

I hoped that all the greatest minds in the world who knew the genius of Steve Jobs would find a cure for the disease.

One day they will.  In the meantime, this portion from an article about Jobs in the Daily Mail explains the disease that killed him.  As well as my father, Wolodymyr Zacharij.

Friends and relatives gather at Steve Jobs California mansion as shrines pop up around the globe | Mail Online: "WHY IS PANCREATIC CANCER SO DEADLY?

The pancreas sits behind the stomach in the abdomen

The pancreas is a gland situated high in your abdomen that produces most digestive enzymes and insulin that regulates blood sugar levels.

As pancreatic cancer causes few symptoms in its early stages, the condition is often not diagnosed until the condition is relatively advanced and almost impossible to cure.

The length of time between diagnosis and death is typically short, at usually less than six months. In the UK around one in six patients survive their disease beyond 12 months. Steve Jobs revealed in 2004 that he had a rare, less aggressive form of the disease called islet cell neuroendocrine tumour. This allowed him to live with the disease for seven years.

Symptoms of the condition such as nausea and fever can be caused by a variety of conditions making it especially difficult to diagnose. Other symptoms include weight loss, jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and stomach pain, although again they could be caused by other conditions such as hepatitis.

A doctor who suspects pancreatic cancer may feel the abdomen for unusual swelling, however because the pancreas is located behind the stomach it is difficult for them to feel for tumours.

An ultrasound scan can often miss pancreatic cancer as ultrasound waves are not good at penetrating deep into body tissues. A CT or MRI scan provides a more detailed and accurate picture.

If a tumour is suspected surgeons perform a laparoscopy (passing a thin camera inside the abdomen). If a biopsy confirms cancer surgeons will try and remove the tissue. This is the only way to cure the cancer but is only suitable for one in five patients where the tumour has not progressed to wrapping itself around important blood vessels.

Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can help shrink the tumour and reduce the pain but not cure the "

 

(Via .)

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