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Health Watch: Pancreatic Cancer Likely Claimed Life Of Steve Jobs, Promising Treatments On The Horizon In Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Although not confirmed, it’s presumed Steve Jobs, Apple founder, died from complications of pancreatic cancer. It’s one of the deadliest cancers. Most people die within a year of being diagnosed.

Philadelphia is on the cutting edge of new research to find better treatments, and maybe someday a cure for pancreatic cancer.

Dr. Chi Van Dang, the Director of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, says Steve Jobs had a rare form of pancreatic cancer. Dr. Dang’s research is focused on more common tumors.

“It’s a really devastating disease,” said Dr. Dang.

The pancreas, located behind the stomach, plays a critical role in food absorption and digestion.

There are usually no symptoms of pancreatic cancer until it’s more advanced, which is why survival rates are so low.

“The other reason why it’s deadly is because it’s a kind of cancer that just doesn’t respond well to standard therapy,” said Dr. Dang. That can include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.

Jobs said he had been cured in 2004, but two years ago he had a liver transplant, indicating the cancer had spread.

“It just underscores the fact that these cancers are deadly. We need new therapies,” said Dr. Dang.

At Penn, they’re working on immunotherapy, where the patients immune system attacks the pancreatic cancer, and new medications to starve it.

“We’re going to make a big difference in the next five years,” said Dr. Dang.

Symptoms of pancreatic cancer include stomachache, fatigue, and unexplained weight loss. It’s usually diagnosed with scans of the abdomen.

While the cause is unknown, diabetes, smoking and obesity increase the risk.


Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center Pancreatic Cancer Information

Pancreatic Cancer Information

Reported by Stephanie Stahl, CBS 3

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  • Jenny

    The headline is misleading. Even though the story clarifies that the research being reported on is for the other type of pancreatic cancer, not the one Jobs had, these are totally different types of cancer (originating in different cell types etc) and a drug approval for the therapy being researched would not be indicated/labeled for use in the type Job has. Jobs had a neuroendocrine tumor (a type of tumor that can develop in many different locations in the body). Very different. You may want to tie these two things together, but they don’t really go together. Or maybe explain that better to readers if you’re gonna make the jump.

  • george

    a very good man has passed away… God Bless his family at this time… help them to deal with their lose…

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