Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, died on Wednesday after a courageous battle with cancer at the age of 56.
Steve Jobs represented many things to many people: a technological visionary, a cultural icon, the list of his accolades can go on; however, most of all, for the purposes of this discussion, he represented the millions of cancer survivors who continue to follow their dreams, live their lives, and contribute to the world each and every day.
Jobs was diagnosed with a rare form of pancreatic cancer in 2004 that was curable with surgery. However, what we are finding now is that Jobs chose to treat his tumor with a special diet while exploring alternative therapies. “It’s safe to say he was hoping to find a solution that would avoid surgery,” says one person familiar with the situation. “I don’t know if he truly believed that was possible. The odd thing is, for us what seemed like an alternative type of thing, for him is normal. It’s not out of the ordinary for Steve.”
There was no serious alternative to surgery. “Surgery is the only treatment modality that can result in cure,” Dr. Jeffrey Norton, chief of surgical oncology at Stanford and one of the foremost experts in the field, wrote in a 2006 medical journal article about this type of pancreatic cancer. It is reported that Dr. Norton performed the surgery on Jobs in July of 2004. Then in 2009 Jobs needed a liver transplant, but the slow-moving form of pancreatic cancer most likely came back or spread, ultimately claiming his life.
Jobs contributed amazing things to technology, but he also showed the world that there are effective treatment options for this rare disease. He showed that one can go on to live many years and productively.
In 2005 Jobs delivered Stanford University’s commencement speech.
“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life,” he said. “Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.”
These are powerful words. What is also evident is that Cancer is indiscriminate and can strike at any age, and can claim the lives of our mothers, fathers, children, our neighbors, and prominent members of our society way before their time. As a six-letter word, cancer is perhaps one of the most feared diagnoses once can receive.
As we continue developing HealthPlexus.NET and the Journal of Current Clinical Care we would like to propose to establish an Open Forum on Oncology within our resources to track the current clinical trends and scientific advances in the prevention and fight against this disease.
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