Steve Jobs brought awareness to forgotten cancer

James and Treva Mcreynolds love walking near their Atlanta home. It keeps them in shape for their world travels like a recent trip to Austria.

"Just strolled the city and did the Vienna pass," said James.

In 2013, James began struggling with what he thought was pancreatitis instead, doctors removed an unusual pancreatic tumor that later came back to his lymph nodes. It is called Neuroendocrine Cancer or NET.

"I heard of pancreatic cancer, which killed Patrick Swayze, but this kind of cancer killed Steve Jobs," said James.

"Panic, a little bit of panic--then you have to start researching and get as many of the details as you can," said Treva.

Doctor David Kooby says neuroendocrine tumors account for only about five percent of all pancreatic cancers. Fifty percent of patients have no symptoms at all. For others, the signs can be mild, moderate or severe.

"Maybe some vague abdominal pain, weight loss, back pain, just because the gland lays at the back of the belly," said Dr. Kooby.

Depending upon the patient, treatment is sometimes surgery or chemo or both. Doctor Kooby says the net is slower-growing cancer. Steve jobs lived for nearly ten years after diagnosis. The average life expectancy for the more common pancreatic cancer is less than one year. Even though it moves slowly, James and Treva were thankful doctors caught cancer early.

"It is a silent killer. I had no symptoms whatsoever at all before the first surgery or the second surgery," said James.
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