August 25, 2011
Craig Devoe, MD
A neuroendocrine tumor begins in the hormone-producing cells of the body’s neuroendocrine system, which is made up of cells that are a cross between traditional endocrine cells (or hormone-producing cells) and nerve cells. Neuroendocrine cells are found in organs like the lungs, stomach and intestines, and perform such functions as regulating the air and blood flow through the lungs and controlling the speed at which food is moved through the gastrointestinal tract, according to the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Cases like Mr. Jobs’, which affect the pancreas, number fewer than 1,000 a year in the United States. In contrast, there are around 40,000 cases of other pancreatic cancers a year. Mr. Jobs’ cancer began in the pancreas then spread to the liver, which prompted his January medical leave from Apple following a liver transplant.