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Cancer still a possibility with Jobs, say doctors

updated 05:00 pm EST, Fri January 16, 2009

Cancer recurring in Jobs?

The health problems that led to Steve Jobs' leave of absence from Apple may still be connected to cancer, despite attempts to reassure the public, say doctors quoted by Reuters. While Jobs has described the issue as just a "hormonal imbalance" with simple treatment, the doctors suggest that symptoms could indicate a recurrence of pancreatic cancer. Jobs briefly stepped away from the company in 2004 to cope with his illness.

Dr. Roderich Schwarz, an oncological surgeon at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, notes that Jobs was attacked by an unusually rare type of tumor known as an islet cell. These are typically easy to remove in surgery, says Schwarz, but recur in half of patients. An endocrinologist at Washington University in St. Louis, Dr. Clay Semenkovich, additionally observes that islet-cell tumors can trigger excessive secretions of hormones like insulin, producing the sort of weight loss Jobs experienced during 2008.

Beyond a recurrence, an imbalance could also have been created by side effects of a Whipple treatment used in 2004, or a straightforward insulin deficiency. The latter would not explain the need to take six months' leave from work, however.

Boosting the case for cancer is an observation from Joseph Kim, a cancer specialist at the City of Hope center near Los Angeles. Kim notes that many cancers can be treated without invasive procedures, or with surgery that only requires a few days' recovery. Recurrent islet-cell tumors, however, can be "extremely difficult, if not risky" to remove, says Kim. Semenkovich argues that Jobs may need such a complicated surgery, which could well require six months for preparation and subsequent recovery, particularly in light of Jobs' low weight. "Surgery in somebody who has lost a lot of weight is a risk," the doctor says.

Anonymous sources monitoring Jobs' condition, meanwhile, say that Jobs may be considering a liver transplant due to unspecified complications of his past cancer. Islet-cell tumors can frequently spread to the liver, says Prof. Steven Brower of the Mercer University School of Medicine. Jobs has refused to elaborate on his health, simply saying "Why don't you guys leave me alone -- why is this important?" in a telephone interview with Bloomberg.

by MacNN Staff




  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    rumours and more rumours

    Please refrain from posting these rumours since they are really just idle speculation. The Bloomberg source in particular is based on "people monitoring his health" but people who also don't know him or have ever examined him who perhaps aren't even doctors. We are all "monitoring his health" in that sense.

    More materially, Steve Jobs can only be suffering form cancer if he and the entire board are also publicly lying about his condition and purposely deceiving the investors.

    If you are going to run stories that suggest that Steve Jobs and the Apple board are lying or violating SEC rules etc., don't you think you should actually have some back-up? This kind of thing is the essence of yellow journalism.

    Please stop it.

    Comment buried. Show
  1. Monstermind

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'd like to buy a vowel

    GIMME AN "A"!

  1. slider

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Alright, We Got It

    Yes, Steve Jobs is sick, I'm pretty sure we've got it covered now. I don't think we need to post every speculation on SJ's health.

    If there is some official word, then great, but at this point, all the stockholders that are crying foul are already in full gear, the sickos that seem to be revealing in it are on the floor laughing, and the rest of us have already given our best wishes. Enough already!

  1. kellrandy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm sick of this...

    I am so tired of hearing about this. Now he's getting a liver transplant, WTF? This is typical MacNN posting c***, from c*** sources. This is Steve's personal life. Our gluttony for the next big Apple announcement should never include someone's very private and personal health issues. Why do you think HIPAA was enacted for crying out loud. Leave the man alone!

  1. darkrail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Psychic Doctors

    Could somebody please ask these doctors what's wrong with my shoulder? It has bothered me for a few years. That should be more than enough information for them to give me all sorts of lengthy diagnoses without ever meeting me, right?

    Shame on any so-called "journalist" for lowering themselves to this level. Shame on me for clicking on this dumb article.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Shame on you

    I can't believe you are STILL pushing this unfounded c***. Report on fact, not anonymous speculation.

  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969


    pretty obvious...

    Even these doctors should know that replacing his liver will not result in the parts of his pancreas that were removed miraculously growing back. If they want to speculate, they should confine themselves to the known facts which nowhere include any deterioration of Steve's liver. Also, like darkrail, I too have an affliction they they might like to diagnose. It's a royal pain in the arse with the multitudinous scumbags seeing to generate web-clicks from someone's private misfortune.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Uncomfortable probing

    "Why don't you guys leave me alone -- why is this important?" Treat a man with some dignity and respect, people, please. Damn.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969




    If you don't know anything, THEN SHUT THE f*** UP!!

    This incessant pursuit of traffic hits by morons like the MacNN editors only paints them for the f****** low-end scum-sucking morons that they undoubtedly are.

    The right thing to do would be to post an editorial that MacNN will refrain from posting any more Steve Jobs rumors, until the statements are either from an official source, or Steve Jobs has returned in July.

    Of course, that requires class and common sense - so I'm not holding my breath.

  1. Geobunny

    Joined: Dec 1969


    For goodness sake!

    Just leave the man alone! It wouldn't at all surprise me if, in 6 months time and fully fit, he left Apple purely because he's pissed off with all the media attention on his health. He said quite clearly, for the sake of his family, Apple, and himself, he wants to be out of the limelight. Please, just give him that wish.

    We know he's not well, so send him your good wishes and your prayers, and leave it at that.

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