High profile deaths bring new attention to deadly form of cancer

By: The Associated Press
By: The Associated Press

UNDATED (AP) — The deaths this week of Apple founder Steve Jobs and Nobel prize winner Ralph Steinman are bringing attention to a type of cancer that is notoriously lethal.

There are almost as many deaths from pancreatic cancer each year as there are new cases of it. But the number of cases is actually declining, even though there haven't been any big advances in treatment or in early detection.

Smoking is one of the top risk factors -- and a decline in smoking may be behind the drop in cases.

Jobs lived for more than seven years after being diagnosed with a type of pancreatic cancer that is less common and grows more slowly than the type of cancer that killed Steinman a week ago and actor Patrick Swayze two years ago.

The Apple chief declared he was cured after cancer surgery in 2004. But five years later, he had a liver transplant -- and experts said it was likely because the cancer had returned or spread.

(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)


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