Steve Jobs' Pancreatic Cancer: A Timeline

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Jobs further noted in his letter that the remedy for the problem was "relatively simple and straightforward," and that he had already begun treatment to correct the condition.

Koneru said that although he was not involved in Jobs' care and had no specific knowledge as to his medical condition at the time, Jobs may well have experienced such symptoms, as they are not uncommon in patients with his diagnosis.

"Some of these neuroendocrine tumors produce certain chemicals that sometimes cause different types of symptoms depending on the chemicals produced," Koneru said. "In general, for various kinds of neuroendocrine tumors, I think this is quite common."

But two weeks after he issued his letter, Jobs announced in an email that he would be taking a medical leave of absence from Apple.

"Unfortunately, the curiosity over my personal health continues to be a distraction not only for me and my family, but everyone else at Apple as well," Jobs wrote. "In addition, during the past week I have learned that my health-related issues are more complex than I originally thought."

June 2009: A five-month period of relative silence about Jobs' condition during his medical leave was broken by a report in the Wall Street Journal that Jobs had traveled to Tennessee for a liver transplant two months earlier.

The Journal, which said it had no specifics on precisely where or when Jobs had the transplant, noted that the waiting time for donated livers is substantially shorter in Tennessee than it is elsewhere, since fewer people come to the three hospitals in the state that do transplants. Specifically, people in Tennessee wait 48 days, on average, compared with 306 nationally, according to 2006 figures from the United Network for Organ Sharing. Also, the state has no residency requirement for organ recipients.

The operation was confirmed days later by Methodist University Hospital Transplant Institute, the Tennessee center that performed the surgery.

"Mr. Jobs underwent a complete transplant evaluation and was listed for transplantation for an approved indication in accordance with the Transplant Institute policies and United Network for Organ Sharing policies," the hospital said in a press release issued at the time. "He received a liver transplant because he was the patient with the highest MELD score (Model for End-Stage Liver Disease) of his blood type and, therefore, the sickest patient on the waiting list at the time a donor organ became available."

"The choice for him to have undergone a liver transplant … was not an unreasonable choice," said Dr. Michael Pishvaian, assistant professor in the Department of Hematology/Oncology at the Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, D.C. Pishvaian, who was not involved in Jobs' treatment, said that while a liver transplant in cases similar to Jobs' "is not something that we tend to do in this country," it is a more common approach in Europe that has shown promise.

Less than a week after the news broke about his liver transplant, Jobs was back at work.

And in September, jobs revealed for the first time details about his liver transplant -- including specifics about the donor.

"I now have the liver of a mid-20s person who died in a car crash and was generous enough to donate their organs, and I wouldn't be here without such generosity," he said in a statement.

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