Monday, October 10, 2011

Understanding the Disease that Ended Steve Jobs Life

It is already SOP in the blogger world to tackle issues that are in current trend so, I decided to write about what to expect when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - the disease that ultimately claimed the life of Apple CEO and founder, Steve Jobs.

By the way, let me give you first some insights about pancreas and its importance to our digestive system. The pancreas is the pear-shaped organ measuring about 6 inches long that lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It has two important roles played - to produce enzymes that are essential for metabolism and to produce hormones like insulin and glucagon, which ensures a balanced blood sugar level.

The pancreas is just one of the organs in the digestive system that is susceptible for an abnormal growth of cells or tumors. These tumors may come in various forms or characteristics. Some tumors are benign while others are malignant. There are also tumors that are common while others are rare. And in the case of Steve Jobs, medical practitioners who often come in a white lab coat and a littmann stethoscope hanging on their neck found a rare form of pancreatic tumor in the endocrine gland - the part of the pancreas that is responsible for producing insulin. What makes neuroendocrine pancreatic tumor rare is that is only 1 out of 100,000 people had this type of disease. Aside from that, the abnormal cell grows slowly and less aggressive, which is deemed as among that reasons why Steve Jobs was able to live 6 years longer the moment he was diagnosed.

According to healthcare professionals who basic medical instrument is a littmann stethoscope, people who are at risk to develop pancreatic cancer are those with:
  1. Damaged DNA mutation. This can be bother inherited from the parents or acquired as the person age 
  2. Pancreatitis or inflammation of the pancreas. Although the reason is not yet clear, but chronic pancreatitis can lead to abnormal growth of cells in the pancreas.
  3. Diabetes. It appears to be a symptom for pancreatic cancer.
  4. Poor lifestyle. Eating fatty or carcinogenic foods, smoking cigarettes are just some unhealthy lifestyle habits that increases the risk for pancreatic cancer
  5. Chemical exposure. People who are exposed to hazardous chemicals like gasoline have bigger chances of developing pancreatic cancer.
What to expect when diagnosed with pancreatic cancer?
Signs and symptoms of pancreatic cancer can only be seen/felt by the patient when the tumor has grown and spread out of the pancreas. The common signs and symptoms include:
  1. Yellowing of the skin, gums, and white of the eyes
  2. Constant lower back pain
  3. Sudden weight loss
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Generalized body malaise or the feeling of weakness and discomfort
  6. Feeling of sickness in the stomach characterized by an urge to vomit

No comments:

Post a Comment