Kristen Mascia
October 24, 2011 12:00 PM

Pancreatic cancer is typically swift and lethal. Some 80 percent of the roughly 40,000 patients diagnosed annually die within a year. Jobs suffered from the much rarer, slower-growing neuroendocrine form, in which tumors occur in hormone-producing cells; only about 600 such cases are diagnosed each year. After his October 2003 diagnosis, Jobs reportedly deferred the standard surgery and instead went on a special diet. Yet by July 2004 Jobs’s tumors had grown, and he opted for the recommended surgery, in which part of his pancreas was removed. The following day, in an e-mail to staff, he said he was “cured.” But new concerns about his health arose in June 2008, when he appeared looking frail; in June 2009, facing liver failure, he received a transplant in Memphis. Jobs long outlived his cancer’s average prognosis of 23 months. But in all its forms, says MD Anderson Cancer Center expert Dr. James Yao, “this is a tough cancer.” For more information, see

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