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Treatment risk for cancer sufferers like Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs has resigned as the CEO of Apple amid a seven year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer. The companys co-founder had been on three s...

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|Aug 25|magazine8 min read

Steve Jobs has resigned as the CEO of Apple amid a seven year battle with a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

The company’s co-founder had been on three stages of medical leave during his time at Apple, but yesterday said he could no longer meet his duties and expectations that came with being the CEO.

Health experts are now using the shock announcement as an opportunity to warn of the risks involved in treating patients with the rare form of pancreatic cancer suffered by Jobs.  

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In 2004 Jobs underwent a liver transplant to remove what was thought to be a neuroendocrine tumour, although he never spoke publicly of the reasons behind the operation.

However, medical professionals believe this is one of the riskiest and most complicated forms of treatment to remove the cancer, the news agency Reuters is reporting.

Reuters quoted Dr Simon Lo, a director of pancreatic and biliary diseases at Los Angeles’ Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who said cancerous tumours returned in 75 percent of patients who had a liver transplant to remove them, two-five years after having the procedure.

Meanwhile, Lo added the drugs patients have to take after a liver transplant could make it harder for them to fight the cancer, which can easily spread to other organs in the body.

“Whenever you put patients on immunosuppressant medications, there's always a risk that it could take away natural resistance, so the cancer could grow faster,” Lo said.

He believes the former Apple Chief could be “confronting both the liver transplant related specific problems, as well as the cancer itself.”

Although there was no mention of his poor health in the letter of resignation that was released by Jobs yesterday, it is thought to be a contributing factor to his departure as he has been looking increasingly thin and frail in recent years.