Endocrinologists: Steve Jobs' Diagnosis (And Prognosis) Unclear

The Wall Street Journal consulted two endocrinologists about Steve Jobs’ condition. The doctors said Steve’s description of having a “hormone imbalance” is vague and offered some possible diagnoses.  They did not offer a prognosis:

WSJ: Apple CEO Steve Jobs’s statement about his health is pretty vague, and could indicate any of several different medical conditions, a couple of experts told the Health Blog today. But Michael D. Jensen, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic, suggested that Jobs’s weight loss is probably related to his pancreas…

In 2004, surgeons removed something called an islet cell neuroendocrine tumour — a rare form of cancer that’s not deadly if caught early — from Jobs’s pancreas. It’s possible that the tumour has recurred, perhaps on the pancreas or the liver, and is upsetting hormonal signals involved in digestion. This might be treated by surgically removing the tumour, or by taking pills that restore the hormonal balance.

That scenario would explain the “hormonal imbalance” Jobs mentioned in his statement, as well as his description of the problem as a “nutritional problem.”

A simpler possibility would be that the tumour removal left Jobs with a pancreas that’s just not big enough to produce enough pancreatic enzymes. In that case, taking the enzymes in pills would be an effective treatment. But if Jobs’s problem were simply that he’s not getting enough enzymes because his pancreas is too small, it wouldn’t typically be referred to as a “hormone imbalance.”

Of course, there are all sorts of other possibilities that have nothing to do with the pancreas. And the vagueness of Jobs’s statement leaves many details unclear…

Steve said he has already begun treatment for the condition and that it is “relatively simple and straightforward.”

See Also: Once Again, Apple Not Forthright About Steve Jobs’ Health

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