What's Wrong With Steve Jobs?

With Apple's Steve Jobs back on leave to "focus on his health," medical speculation is rife. The Los Angeles Times reports here that experts say the decision "was probably triggered either by an infection, a rejection episode related to his recent liver transplant or, most likely, a recurrence of his pancreatic cancer."

But all cautioned that these are just educated guesses because so few details about his medical condition have been made public. "If we don't know more, it is all speculation," said Dr. Heinz-Josef Lenz, a gastrointestinal oncologist at USC's Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. "But we worry the tumor is back."

Here in Boston, our friends at report here that:

The medical specifics of Jobs’ current medical condition were not revealed but, as we reported, Jobs underwent a liver transplant in June 2009. He also underwent treatment for an islet cell neuroendocrine tumor in 2004. This bit of health news is frequently reported as him having had pancreatic cancer, but as we have reported on several occasions, these are two completely different tumors. Although they both originate in pancreatic cells, the cells look and function differently, and have different prognoses.

Check out their earlier article setting the record straight that Jobs did not have "pancreatic cancer."

All informed speculation welcome — news reports today talk about Apple having a deep bench, but still...

This program aired on January 18, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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Carey Goldberg Editor, CommonHealth
Carey Goldberg is the editor of WBUR's CommonHealth section.



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