Little chance of pancreatic cancer



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Appeal founder Steve Jobs died of pancreatic cancer

Apple founder Steve Jobs has been suffering from pancreatic cancer (medical: pancreatic tumor) for almost seven years. Patients who rarely suffer from cancer have little chance of a full recovery. The five-year chance of survival after an initial diagnosis is less than six percent for men and only eight percent for women. The low forecast outlook is mainly due to the fact that the diagnosis is usually too late. Because in the early stages, pancreatic cancer is almost painless for those affected.

Hardly any chance of survival in pancreatic cancer
Despite his billion-dollar empire, Steve Jobs was unable to heal. This shows how serious this malignant tumor is. "Pancreatic cancer is the tumor with the worst prognosis," Jörg Kleeff, deputy director of the surgical clinic at the Rechts der Isar clinic in Munich, told Focus magazine. Fortunately, pancreatic cancer is a rare cancer worldwide compared to other cancers. Around three percent of all cancers diagnosed in Germany are pancreatic tumors. Pancreatic cancer usually develops in the part of the pancreas that is responsible for the production of enzymes. This region is also called the exocrine part in the medical community. Most patients are between 60 and 70 years old. But there are also younger people who are suffering from severe cancer. Here the disease usually occurs spontaneously. The chances of survival are very small despite complex therapeutic measures. Just five percent of those affected survive five years after the diagnosis (five-year survival chances). According to the latest surveys, around 12,800 people develop pancreatic cancer in Germany every year. Most die a good six months after diagnosis.

The Apple founder himself suffered from a very special type of cancer. Jobs had a neuroendocrine tumor that affected the endocrine gland cells in the pancreatic tissue. The glandular cells in the organ, among other tasks, are responsible for the formation of the glandular secretion. This form of pancreatic cancer is less aggressive and progresses slowly. The mortality rate here is somewhat higher than that of the other species. After all, around 20 percent of the patients treated are still alive five years later. They included Jobs, whose financial success gave him the best possible therapy.

Causes of pancreatic cancer still unclear Despite extensive research, the exact cause of its development is still largely unclear. Recent scientific work indicates that the first cell mutations often occur 20 years before the disease actually occurs. According to British researchers, it is not surprising that the survival rate has hardly improved in the past 40 years. At the time of diagnosis, pancreatic cancer is extremely aggressive and treatment is then hardly possible.

In addition to genetic dispositions, alcohol habit, long-term smoking, being overweight, diabetes, cystic changes and chemical pollutants can greatly promote the development of cancer. As with the other cancers of the digestive organs, constant irritation, such as long-lasting inflammation of the pancreas, increasingly leads to the degeneration of the body's own cells. Genetic disposition is now considered the main cause in specialist circles.

In the case of a timely diagnosis, around 10 percent of cancer patients can be removed with surgery using a medical intervention. And even after surgery, the rate of relapse is not excluded. In most cases, however, the cancer is recognized too late due to the lack of symptoms in the early stages. If the first symptoms appear, the cancer has mostly metastasized and has spread to adjacent organs. In numerous cases, so-called daughter tumors have already formed in the lungs, liver and bones when the diagnosis is made. At Steve Jobs, the liver had to be replaced with the help of transplant medicine. That brought Jobs to life for a few more years.

In order to prolong the life expectancy of patients a little, radiation and chemotherapy are used in the advanced stage. The main goal of doctors at this stage of cancer is to alleviate the suffering and improve the quality of life. The late Apple founder also underwent numerous cancer therapies. Despite its billions of dollars, the cancer could not be stopped.

Complaints only appear in the late stage of the disease. The classic symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, underweight, nausea and vomiting as well as a possible feeling of pressure in the upper abdomen only occur when, from a conventional medical point of view, treatment success can hardly be achieved. However, the pain can indicate a variety of other diseases. The symptoms only appear when the pancreatic cancer has already spread to neighboring organs such as the stomach, intestines or stomach. These tumors are then responsible for the symptoms mentioned. The pancreatic cancer itself causes almost no noticeable symptoms for those affected.

How can you prevent? It is believed that there is a genetic link in the development of pancreatic cancer. This means that there is a potentially higher risk if the cancer has already occurred in the family. In general, however, it can be said that a healthy lifestyle helps to lower the risk of cancer. This includes in particular a vegetable and fruit-rich diet, moderate but regular active exercise and the greatest possible avoidance of the intake of pollutants.

Although the computer genius always lived healthy and heeded most of the health advice, he also fell ill with the insidious disease. "Nobody wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven do not want to die to get there. And yet death is the goal that we all have in common. And that's the way it should be, because death is most likely the best invention of life. It brings about change. It clears out the old to make room for the new, ”said Steve Jobs in 2005 during a guest lecture at Stanford's elite university. That was exactly a year later after Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. (sb)

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