What You Should Know About the Cancer That Killed Steve Jobs

steve jobs pancreatic cancerLast night's news of the death of Apple CEO and founder Steve Jobs rattled our entire nation. For more than seven years, the truest Apple genius of them all battled a rare type of pancreatic cancer. And although no one from the Apple camp or on the family side have cited the cancer as THE direct cause of Steve's passing, it goes without saying that the results of the deathly disease finally got the best of him.

Personally, anyone I've ever known who battled pancreatic cancer lost their fight rather quickly. And actually, an estimated 44,030 people will be diagnosed with the disease this year, and 37,660 of them will die, says the Washington Post. As with many other cancers, it's believed that the earlier carriers can detect it, the better their chances are for survival.

As we remember Jobs today, take a moment to look through our compilation of causes, symptoms, and treatments for pancreatic cancer. Let his death once again be a reminder that we can never be too careful.

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The cause: Pancreatic cancer is the result of tumor cells that grow uncontrollably in the pancreas. The biggest known risk factors for the cancer include family history and smoking, according to the Scientific American.

The symptoms: Signs of pancreatic cancer aren't generally found until the disease is in a late stage. They include:

  • Unexpected, significant weight loss
  • Severe pain in the abdomen, which is caused by the tumor pushing against other nerves
  • Jaundice, which is when the skin and eyes turn a yellowish color. This happen when the cancer interferes with the liver and the bile duct
  • Lighter, pale stool
  • Depression
  • Feelings of nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting
  • Trousseau's sign: random blood clots that show up in deep veins of the legs and arms

How it's diagnosed: Generally, there are many different tests physicians use to determine whether or not a patient who shows the symptoms actually has the disease. They include ultrasounds, abdominal computerized tomography scans (CT- or CAT-scans), angiograms, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), among others.

But like all other forms of the illness, the only way to 100 percent confirm it's an active cancer site is by removing a sample of the tumor and performing a biopsy.

Treatment: The treatment options for pancreatic cancer vary, but include surgery to remove the tumor completely, as well as hormone therapy and chemotherapy.

Has pancreatic cancer ever had an effect on your life?

 

Image via ssoosay/Flickr

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