Apple CEO Jobs undergoes cancer surgery

“Apple Computer Inc. Chief Executive Steve Jobs has had successful surgery for a rare form of pancreatic cancer, the company’s co-founder told employees in a company-wide e-mail on Sunday that was made available to Reuters,” Duncan Martell reports for Reuters.

“Jobs, 49, wrote in the e-mail sent from his hospital bed that he plans to return to work in September after recuperating in August. In his absence, Tim Cook, head of worldwide sales and operations, will run the Cupertino, California-based company, maker of the Macintosh computer and popular iPod portable digital music player,” Martell reports.

“‘This weekend I underwent a successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from my pancreas,’ Jobs wrote in the e-mail. ‘I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year, and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was).’ He added that he ‘will not require any chemotherapy or radiation treatments,'” Martell reports. Full article here.

The full text of Steve Jobs’ email to Apple Computer, Inc. employees:


I have some personal news that I need to share with you, and I wanted you to hear it directly from me.

This weekend I underwent a successful surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from my pancreas. I had a very rare form of pancreatic cancer called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor, which represents about 1 percent of the total cases of pancreatic cancer diagnosed each year, and can be cured by surgical removal if diagnosed in time (mine was). I will not require any chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

The far more common form of pancreatic cancer is called adenocarcinoma, which is currently not curable and usually carries a life expectancy of around one year after diagnosis. I mention this because when one hears “pancreatic cancer” (or Googles it), one immediately encounters this far more common and deadly form, which, thank god, is not what I had.

I will be recuperating during the month of August, and expect to return to work in September. While I’m out, I’ve asked Tim Cook to be responsible for Apple’s day to day operations, so we shouldn’t miss a beat. I’m sure I’ll be calling some of you way too much in August, and I look forward to seeing you in September.


PS: I’m sending this from my hospital bed using my 17-inch PowerBook and an Airport Express.

MacDailyNews Take: Get well soon, Steve!

Related MacDailyNews article:
What happens when Steve Jobs dies? – August 20, 2003


  1. Biomedical research only becomes important to people when a life-threatening disease affects someone close to us and we demand answers or cures, but then is usually forgotten for more important matters. You can’t simply demand a cure for todays problem- it takes a sustained effort. Think about your priorities now.

  2. FYI:
    Surg Clin North Am. 2001 Jun;81(3):527-42.
    Islet cell tumors of the pancreas: the medical oncologist’s perspective.
    Islet cell tumors of the pancreas are rare, indolent, neuroendocrine tumors. Approximately 50% of the patients diagnosed with these tumors present with symptoms related to various biologically active hormones that are secreted by these neoplasms. Currently, the only curative treatment for islet cell tumors is complete surgical resection. Management of metastatic disease is conservative. Initial treatment of these tumors includes expectant observation and medical management of symptoms with clinical monitoring and serial CT scans to assess tumor growth. Patients with rapidly progressive disease, with local symptoms caused by tumor bulk, or with uncontrolled symptoms related to hormone secretion require more aggressive medical or surgical intervention. The somatostatin analogue octreotide may help control hormone secretion and stabilize tumor growth. Patients refractory to octreotide with tumor predominantly in the liver are potential candidates for mechanical ablative techniques, such as hepatic arterial embolization. Radiofrequency ablation and cryosurgical techniques may also be useful, although specific data are limited. Surgical resection of metastatic disease may offer palliative relief of symptoms related to hormone secretion in carefully selected patients. Chemotherapy may be used for palliation when ablative techniques have failed or when significant extrahepatic disease is present. Streptozicin-based combinations remain the first line standard, but major objective responses are less common than had been previously thought. Because of the overall modest success of current chemotherapeutic regimens, patients with advanced disease in need of treatment should be encouraged to enroll in clinical trials testing newer antineoplastic agents or newer treatment strategies.

  3. Man, i wish my airport express worked (to extend the range of my D-Link router…)

    Unless someone knows how / can tell me how – i’m afraid I have no use of my airport express 🙁

  4. theloniusMac: Sorry if that came across as vague. The technical abstract I posted says that Steve and his doctors are pursuing the appropriate course of action and lets hope this will cure his disease. However, if the cancer spreads, the author suggests that clinical trails of new drugs might be the only hope for him. I am a cancer researcher who uses Macs in my research an who is saddened by the anti-science policies of the Bush administration towards biomedical (National Institutes of Health) research. This statement is supported by a letter from 48 Nobel Prize winning scientists who have come out strongly against Bush. I think most (not all) people who read this forum might feel the same way as I, that nothing should hold back potential cures for people like Steve, our friends, or family members.

  5. While Steve Jobs has been inventing & re-inventing the role of the computer in our lives I have been working in the Medical field. No matter the kind, type or outlook, the diagnosis and treatment of Cancer causes most people to re-evaluate their lives and all that is around them. No prediction is being made, but a shift in values and priorities is many times the result of such an experience.
    If you are out there, I wish you a speedy recovery and return to health and comfort.

  6. I hope he recovers soon. I wonder if his diet played a part in developing the curable kind of pancreas cancer that he had. I am no doctor or researcher but when a vegetarian gets a rare kind of cancer I do see a connection.

    Who will be the keynote speaker in Paris if Steve will be recuperating?

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