The seven-years battle Steve Jobs had with pancreatic cancer is now over and yet the whole world mourned with his death. Although he lived for years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, many health experts believe that he could have lived longer. A doctor from Harvard University recalled that when Steve Jobs was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2004, he should not have delayed the operation for nine months before he undergoing the surgical procedure. Others believe that he died either because of the complications from the secret liver transplant performed in 2009 or his recent chemotherapy treatment months before he died.
Whatever the reason may be, this article will shed light on those who have little understanding of pancreatic cancer, its standard treatments, and other health alternatives that can prevent this fatal disease.
Pancreatic Cancer Overview
The pancreas is situated in the upper abdomen beneath the stomach which composed of glands responsible for producing enzymes and insulin to regulate the blood sugar levels. The start of cancerous cell growth normally starts in the ducts which carry the pancreatic juices. The most common type of pancreatic cancer, also the most aggressive, is adenocarcinoma. Pancreatic cancer is difficult to diagnose in its early stage.
The common symptoms for pancreatic cancer are weight loss, pain in the back and abdomen, loss of appetite, diarrhea, bloating, and jaundice. More often than not, the period of time between diagnosis and death is shorter than expected.
Pancreatic Cancer Standard Treatments
Since pancreatic cancer lacks of curative option and poses a great challenge to the medical treatment field, standard treatments can be done such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
In surgical procedure, the head of the pancreas, parts of the small intestine, stomach, gallbladder, and bile duct are removed. Only enough of the pancreas will be left to produce the insulin and digestive juices. That surgical procedure is called the whipple procedure.
On the other hand, total pancreatectomy is performed to remove the entire pancreas, common bile duct, gallbladder, part of small intestines and part of the stomach. Now, if the cancer has already spread and it is dangerous to be remove the organs, palliative surgery will be done to at least relieve the symptoms. Biliary bypass is performed when the cancerous cells blocks the bile produced by the gallbladder from reaching the small intestine. The doctor then forms cuts the bile duct or gallbladder and bridge it to the small intestine in order to create pathway around the blocked area.
Another surgical operation to consider is endoscopic stent placement where the tumor starts to block the bile duct and the doctor needs to put a stent to drain the bile that has accumulated around the area. Lastly, a gastric bypass is done when the tumor blocks the flow or digestion of food from the stomach. In this surgical operation, the stomach is sewn to the small intestine for the patient to eat normally.
For radiation therapy, it is a cancer treatment which uses radiation or high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells or prevent them from growing. External radiation therapy is performed through the use of a machine or internal radiation with the use of radioactive substance put in wires, catheters and seeds and placed directly near the cancerous areas.
Lastly, the standard treatment for pancreatic cancer is chemotherapy where the patients take drugs to kill or stop the growth of cancer cells either through injection or by mouth. Chemotherapy can be given depending on the stage and type of pancreatic cancer.
Which treatment of Steve Jobs that could have saved him?
Doctors and many people blamed Job’s decision to delay the surgery while he pursued other alternatives such as herbal medicine and even acupuncture from the time he was diagnosed of pancreatic cancer. In 2004, he underwent pancreatic surgical procedure that removed the neuroendocrine tumor from his pancreas.
Jobs received a liver transplant in March 2009 which is said contribute to his ailments. Dr. William Chapman, transplantation chief of Washington University who did not treat Mr.Jobs, said that it is hard to treat pancreatic cancer with liver transplant. Long term complications are may arise and many related side effects may be experienced during medication. It can also lead to a liver failure and increase the need for another liver transplant.
Jobs passed away a few months after chemotherapy treatments at the Stanford Cancer Center in California. No question was targeted at the multiple treatments Jobs undergone in his attempt to survive pancreatic cancer as poisons may be introduced into his body, resulting in a sudden deterioration in his health. His loss is extremely saddening to all his followers around the world but surely, his legacy will remain a niche in the field of modern technology.
Turmeric as the Best Alternative to Avoid Pancreatic Cancer
Turmeric does not only look like ginger but it is also a relative of ginger with a bitter taste. For over thousand years, herbalists use turmeric to treat viral infections, stomach troubles and other ailments. The secret lies in the curcumin contents of turmeric. Since the pancreas lies near the stomach and pancreatic cancer can spread rapidly but show vague signals during the early stage, researchers are now exploring the possible use of turmeric to prevent this type of cancer, including cancers of the breast, skin, stomach, mouth and esophagus.
In one clinical study involving 21 patients diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer, the patients were given 8 gm of turmeric daily. 2 patients responded positively to the curcumin treatment; their condition stabilized for more than 18 months and there was a significant regression of the tumor to up to 73%. Other blood test markers also showed improvement.
The theory is based on the active chemical which is known as curcumin that interferes with the flow of blood supply causing the cancer cells to shrink. The antioxidant in turmeric is said to be very effective in protecting the damaged cells. Although the results of curcumin is very promising, more research needs to be conducted for it to be conclusive. Therefore, always consult your doctor for further advice before starting to consume turmeric.