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Amid all the tributes making their way around the Internet, I submit my own humble homage to Apple founder Steve Jobs. Everything that could be said about his impact on technology has or will be said by others far more erudite than me, so instead I'll honor him as someone who lived a robust life as a cancer survivor.
Jobs lived for seven years after learning he had an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor in his pancreas. It's considered a rare form of pancreatic cancer because it accounts for only about 200 to 1,000 of more than 42,000 pancreatic cancers diagnosed each year, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology. It's also more treatable than the common form of the disease.
It has been speculated that, around the time of his diagnosis, the fiercely private Jobs underwent a Whipple procedure, in which parts of the pancreas, small intestine and stomach are removed and the digestive system is reconstructed. Then, two years ago, he received a liver transplant. Keep in mind that during this time he oversaw the global expansion of the iPod and introduced the iPhone and iPad.
Despite his increasingly frail health, he continued to apply his energy to his life's passions and, in so doing, showed the world that you can live productively with this disease.Within the last six months, two new drugs, Afinitor and Sutent, were approved by the FDA to treat late-stage neuroendocrine tumors, options that were unavailable to Jobs at the time of his diagnosis. It's hard to know what difference such treatments would have made for Jobs. What is certain is that he made the most of his life after cancer, and the difference he made in all of our lives will be known for generations to come.