Patterico's Pontifications

7/12/2009

Kim Jong-Il May Have Pancreatic Cancer

Filed under: International — DRJ @ 7:18 pm



[Guest post by DRJ]

South Korean YTN television reports North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has pancreatic cancer.

The Mayo Clinic says pancreatic cancer often has a poor prognosis and is the leading cause of cancer deaths, while the National Cancer Institute states pancreatic cancer can only be treated if it is discovered before it has spread, “when it can be removed by surgery.”

The top-ranked U.S. News cancer hospital, the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center states that “more than 95% of patients diagnosed with the disease die from it, and one-half of those deaths occur in the first six months after diagnosis.” But there is some hope as noted at the M.D. Anderson link, and I assume Kim could go to China for this treatment.

— DRJ

67 Responses to “Kim Jong-Il May Have Pancreatic Cancer”

  1. And if he does, maybe the Chinese would do us all a favor and make sure he doesn’t survive the operation.

    “The patient died, so sorry.”

    Soronel Haetir (2a5236)

  2. No, the Chinese will give him a panreas and liver transplant from one of the twenty-year old Uighurs they have just executed. He’s their boy, and their fly buzzing around our ears.

    nk (d7a872)

  3. If he dies, he’ll be succeeded by his son – Kim Jong-un.

    By the way, how many generations do you have to go through before we call North Korea a monarchy?

    JayC (7faf14)

  4. Personally, I hope he dies and burns in hell.

    However, I’ve always been interested in how a single person, be it Stalin, Hitler, Castro or Jong-il maintains power.

    I understand personality cults. I’m seeing that now. But how do you convince millions that starvation and deprivation is for the greater good?

    But, more importantly, how do you convince a certain faction of the military, bureaucracy and political class that the death and deprivation of millions, including their friends and relatives, is in the best of interest of the country?

    Oops. My bad. I’m afraid I know the answer.

    Ag80 (9b2e8b)

  5. North Korea has been tottering on the brink of Hell for a long time and it’s only our fault that it has not fallen in yet.

    nk (d7a872)

  6. If he dies, I wonder whether Obama will meddle in the succession plans.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  7. Ag80,

    It’s the age-old question: Yearning to be free vs yearning to have someone else take care of you.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  8. DRJ:

    Interesting link, and I believe the Rabbi is right.

    As a matter of instinct, people want to live free, but they also want to live well. And by that, I mean they want to live free of want in a comfortable environment that provides a course for their children to do the same.

    That’s why some philosophies, such as socialism, are so entrancing. What’s wrong with everyone living the same and contributing to the greater good of our neighbors?

    Yet, what we’ve seen in history, time and again, is that what people really want is the opportunity to excel and cast off the bondage of government to be able to achieve on their own.

    I honestly believe that folks who support the left want one of two things: They either want to really help the oppressed or they want to punish the “oppressors” so that they can become the oppressors and reap the rewards that they so want because of their convictions.

    In other words, those that oppose them must pay, not only with their livelihoods, but their lives — for the greater good. The individual means nothing.

    And they never realize that what they want will ultimately result in their own demise.

    Ag80 (9b2e8b)

  9. If they would send him to Canada, or Cuba, their national healthcare systems would cure him instantly, and we could have this luvable cute little whack-job to make fun of for years on end.

    JD (bdcd86)

  10. Good idea JD, but when we Canuckis get him, we’ll be unable to treat him, so we’ll ship him to you, and you can get Obama to cure him instantly with emanations from his gigantic brain.

    Fred Z (f7d2b1)

  11. Great news!

    HeavenSent (641cde)

  12. Fred – You made me chuckle.

    I know how to cure him. Make him dance with Madeline Albright again. That could scare the devil out Satan herself.

    JD (bdcd86)

  13. Look, I did not want to bring Steve Jobs of Apple into this, but he bought himself a new pancreas and new liver. And the Chinese execute about 20,000 people a year, that we know about, and they harvest their organs. And they will give Kim a new pancreas and new liver.

    nk (b988bc)

  14. Steve Jobs reportedly had a rare form of pancreatic cancer in which the tumors grow more slowly, so his cancer may not have spread beyond his liver. As the link notes, “most hospitals will not perform a transplant on patients with metastatic cancer that has spread outside the liver.”

    Thus, assuming the South Korean report is true, it may be too late for Kim to have a transplant if his cancer has already metastasized beyond the pancreas and liver. But that certainly doesn’t mean they may not try, if they haven’t already.

    DRJ (6f3f43)

  15. Teh One stopped the oceans from rising. This ought to be easy to fix, in comparison.

    JD (bdcd86)

  16. Comment by nk — 7/12/2009 @ 9:35 pm

    Good point, if not gruesome. If there was anyone whose life has been an utterly despicable disgrace and does not deserve the gift of a vital organ, it’s Kim Jong-Il.

    It’s interesting to read up on the heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. There seems to be a consistently repeated thought that he may possibly open up one of the most closed societies to the world. His education in the West, his fascination with Western pop culture, and having spent so many years outside of NK may have influenced him more than his father realized it would. One can hope, anyway.

    Dana (57e332)

  17. Mickey Mantle got himself a new liver even though he was an alcoholic. In America. I do not expect the transplant system to be any more honest in China especially when the patient is Kim Jon Il.

    nk (b988bc)

  18. Mickey Mantle didn’t have the blood of millions on his hands.

    Dana (57e332)

  19. As Clarence Darrow once said: “I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with a lot of pleasure.”

    I Very much look forward to reading this one…

    Scott Jacobs (d027b8)

  20. nk, I expect China to be as crooked as possible. But if the cancer has metastasized, a transplant won’t help any. Bailing the Titanic.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  21. Kim Jong Terminally and Mentally Ill.

    either orr (291505)

  22. It’s interesting to read up on the heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. There seems to be a consistently repeated thought that he may possibly open up one of the most closed societies to the world. His education in the West, his fascination with Western pop culture, and having spent so many years outside of NK may have influenced him more than his father realized it would. One can hope, anyway.

    I hope you’re right. I remember back in the 90’s when Basar took over for Hafez al-Assad in Syria. There was the idea that his Western leanings and youth would push Syria into the modern age. Of course, we saw how awesome that turned out.

    I’m not saying it’s impossible. God knows it would be rad to see North Korea shed some of it’s lunacy. I just don’t know enough about the son to get too excited about him. Maybe he’ll buck the trend.

    KingShamus (4fabb2)

  23. As for Kim Jong Un and his Western education, it’s important to remember that Kim Jong Il always was/is fascinated/obsessed with Western culture. That hasn’t stopped him from being an asshat.

    HowdySir (3dd922)

  24. Barcky Obama got a western education and he still turned out to be a dirty rotten little socialist. Why should the Nork’s be any different?

    JD (92df48)

  25. Howdy – I want to apologize for being less than cordial in our prior interactions. I still think you were wrong, but you are clearly not a dirty little socialist.

    JD (92df48)

  26. Having lived through cancer, I don’t wish that on anyone… now, a member of his elite (or better yet his son) walking up behind him and putting a bullet in his brain?

    GM Roper - old enough to be a curmudgeon and a Vietnam Era Vet myself. (85dcd7)

  27. Or better yet, a popular uprising and drive towards representative democracy!

    GM Roper (85dcd7)

  28. Will he be offered access to American healthcare too?

    Hawkins (3d318d)

  29. Hawkins – Our healthcare system is in crisis. Why would you wish this disaster on such a kind and benevolent leader?

    JD (92df48)

  30. Why isn’t Kim Mentally Ill receiving treatment in Cuba under the esteemed Michael Moore?

    PCD (02f8c1)

  31. I understand personality cults. I’m seeing that now. But how do you convince millions that starvation and deprivation is for the greater good?

    For starters, the regime has done a remarkably good job at keeping the peasants completely ignorant about the world outside of their borders, other than indoctrinating them that it’s all evil and that the Dear Leader will provide for them all. You should read the story of the one surviving US Army defector (out of four total) that defected after he was sent to patrol the DMZ, shortly after the war. Amazing story about what actually happened to them during their decades in captivity – it really outlines how insane the country has been for many generations now.

    http://www.eac.ucsb.edu/node/73

    Thus, assuming the South Korean report is true, it may be too late for Kim to have a transplant if his cancer has already metastasized beyond the pancreas and liver

    I’m sure Dr. Mike will weigh in with his expert analysis, but pancreatic cancer (like the vast majority of cancers) is rarely diagnosed in time to save the patient. There are few symptoms that would lead one to be concerned about your health, and one of the few ways you would find out in time was if you were already going into the hospital for treatment for another problem (necessitating a CT – Scan). Take one look at Patrick Swayze’s heartbreaking experience with pancreatic cancer, and that’ll tell you all you need to know.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  32. This reminds me of the old Soviet joke about a man who goes to a newsstand every day and pays 5 kopeks for a copy of Pravda. He looks at the front page of the newspaper each day and then throws the paper in the trash.

    After a few days of this, the newsstand vendor asks him, “Why do you read only the front page and throw the paper away?”

    The man answers, “I’m only interested in the obituaries.”

    The vendor says, “But the obituaries are on the back page, not the front page.”

    The man says, “Trust me, the obituary I’m looking for will be on the front page.”

    Perhaps the North Korean newspapers will have an obituary to run on the front page soon.

    Joshua (9ede0e)

  33. Kim Jong “Ill” is ill? You don’t say. I wish him a speedy resolution of this situation. He is a superstar. A Dear leader. A great leader. Fearlessly standing up to the west. He must not die. Let’s pray for him…
    “Great men are only valued after they are gone.”
    Let’s not wait for him to die before we acknowledge his greatness.
    And to all you haters on this thread, Shame on you, haters! Shame on you!!

    The Emperor (66fcc0)

  34. My mom died of pancreas cancer. Totally a no fun way to go. By the time we found it it had spread everywhere and there was nothing they could do. 11 weeks from diagnosis to death.

    If the pouffy haired leader’s has spread there is no point to do transplants.

    Having nursed Mom though that cancer and then her death, I can’t think of a nicer person to have it than Kim Jong Il. It’s bloody painful and awful.

    But then, so is starvation, torture, beatings, slave-labor camps….

    Kharma – it’s what’s for dinner.

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  35. Hey, Emperor: I’m still waiting for the apology from you. Either show proof that I am a liar as you claimed, or apologize and admit you were wrong.

    Do you have the guts to act like an adult here?

    Steverino (who feels a really good curmudgeon could be of any age) (69d941)

  36. Mickey Mantle got himself a new liver even though he was an alcoholic. In America. I do not expect the transplant system to be any more honest in China especially when the patient is Kim Jon Il.

    Comment by nk

    Mickey Mantle is a good example why liver transplants for cancer are not a good idea. He had an alcoholic liver but he also had a hepatoma, a cancer that arises in Cirrhotic livers. There were no known metastases when they did the transplant but they appeared in less than six months and killed him. The immunosuppression to prevent rejection, also prevented the host resistance to the microscopic cancers that may still be around.

    Jobs may have had one of the rare cancers like a glucagonoma or insulinoma. These cause high or low blood sugar respectively and aren’t very aggressive. The thing that kills the patient is the blood sugar level. If they metastasize to the liver, the syndrome recurs and cannot be stopped by excising the recurrent tumor, as can be done with local recurrence.

    A liver transplant for such a situation would be an interesting experiment. It would stop the syndrome but might allow other recurrences in time.

    I once got into trouble in medical school for suggesting an aggressive approach to a patient who was dying of high blood calcium because of a lung cancer that was secreting parathyroid hormone. Here’s a case:

    Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1989 May;68(5):976-81.

    Ectopic production of parathyroid hormone by small cell lung cancer in a patient with hypercalcemia.

    Yoshimoto K, Yamasaki R, Sakai H, Tezuka U, Takahashi M, Iizuka M, Sekiya T,
    Saito S.

    First Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, University of
    Tokushima, Japan.

    Severe hypercalcemia (serum calcium, 4.37-4.84 nmol/L) was found in a 70-yr-old man who had a small cell carcinoma of the lung with multiple metastases. The plasma immunoreactive PTH concentration was markedly elevated, as measured in three different PTH assays [N-terminal PTH, 4,650 ng/L (normal, 230-630); midregion PTH, 13,850 ng/L (normal, 180-560); C-terminal PTH, 9,900 ng/L (normal, less than 1,300)], but at autopsy the parathyroid glands were histologically normal. The PTH concentration of a liver metastasis was 503.5 ng/g wet wt (normal liver, less than 4.2-5.9), and the PTH in the tumor extract eluted at nearly the same position as synthetic human PTH-(1-84) on gel filtration chromatography.
    Northern blot analysis revealed PTH mRNA in the tumor as a single band of 0.9 kilobase. These results indicate that the ectopic PTH production by the lung cancer was the cause of hypercalcemia in this patient.

    Anyway, this was an autopsy case presented at what is called a CPC. The patient had a lesion in the spine that looked like a metastasis. The decision was made that the cancer was incurable and he died of hypercalcemia.

    I raised my hand (not using good judgement, as usual) and asked why not remove the lung cancer to stop the hypercalcemia. With great disdain, the chairman of medicine, who didn’t like surgeons anyway and knew I wanted to be one, said that the tumor was incurable so why put the man through the pain ?

    The autopsy results were then presented and with great glee, the pathologist reported that the spine lesion was a bone cyst. The lung cancer was curable.

    I got the lowest passing grade in medicine for my senior year, teaching me that there are times to keep my mouth shut. Unfortunately, the lesson was wasted on me.

    Sorry for the long story but this may be something like what Jobs had.

    Kim Jong Il is probably a goner. Johns Hopkins has a 25% cure rate but nobody else, including me, has had such success.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  37. Possibly the timing of Kim Jong-Il’s death would determine the future of NK, rather than the death itself.

    Dana (57e332)

  38. He was a little baby, once. Then later he made choices.

    hf (9bda9c)

  39. Oh God keep him alive. He still has so much to give to the world. Pleeeeeeeze keep our dear leader alive for us……pleeeeeessssee.. Oh pretty please, please…..

    The Emperor (395365)

  40. Do you have the guts to act like an adult here?

    I have to assume this question is purely rhetorical, Steverino. BTW, is your moniker some kind of homage to the great Bill Dana’s usual greeting to the host of The Steve Allen Show?

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  41. have to assume this question is purely rhetorical, Steverino. BTW, is your moniker some kind of homage to the great Bill Dana’s usual greeting to the host of The Steve Allen Show?

    As OIDO pointed out, it was Louis Nye who said the phrase, “Hi, ho, Steverino!”.

    To answer your second question, yes, the monicker derives from the show. My father, a fan of the show, has called me Steverino since my childhood.

    To answer your first, I doubt very much that The Emperor has the integrity to admit he defamed me. But he did call me a liar, and I demanded proof at the time. Since then, he has yet to provide any evidence to support his slur. I’m not going to allow this insult to stand unchallenged. If The Emperor isn’t man enough to admit he’s mistaken and apologize to me, I will bait him here as often as he posts.

    Emperor: care to admit you were wrong and offer a public apology? Are you a man or a coward?

    Steverino (who feels a really good curmudgeon could be of any age) (69d941)

  42. It’s bloody painful and awful.

    I had a relative who was stricken with breast cancer several years ago and the misery she went through towards the end was an example to me that one’s body can become your biggest enemy. Previously, I generally had never associated cancer with so much physical pain.

    For some reason I thought out-of-control cellular growth led to symptoms mainly along the lines of a quiet shutting down of the body, including perhaps a feeling of bloating similar to what one experiences after a large meal, and mainly ensuing, increasing tiredness and fatigue. But not such excruciating pain. Sheesh, was I ever wrong.

    Still can’t forget reading a biography on John Adams, the US’s 2nd president, whose daughter had cancer. She was treated back then (around 1800) by a primitive version of a masectomy, without, of course, the use of modern anesthia. Just thinking about circumstances similar to hers makes me shudder.

    Mark (411533)

  43. Emperor: care to admit you were wrong and offer a public apology? Are you a man or a coward?

    Oh! Oh! Oh! Can I answer this one ?!

    JD (72046a)

  44. Oh, let’s hear what Horshak has to say!

    AD - RtR/OS! (eb7d4e)

  45. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

    Charlie (Colorado) (c16ad7)

  46. I once did a Whipple procedure on an 86 year old woman. She told me she had nursed a friend through her last six months with pancreatic cancer and, if that was the diagnosis and if I couldn’t take it out, she didn’t want to wake up. I took that as an informed consent. She lived about two and a half years with normal life then quietly faded away with liver metastases. She was content with the results.

    Of course, Obama’s Effectiveness Research Committee would never allow that. In fact, they might ban all surgery on cancer of the pancreas because of the small survival.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  47. #47 Mike K.:

    I once did a Whipple procedure on an 86 year old woman.

    I had a Whipple at Johns Hopkins (for recurrent acute pancreatitis related to cholelithiasis, not cancer). The pain regimen, however, is the same.

    I’ve said since that I wouldn’t wish that upon my worst enemy…but I am open to argument.

    I raised my hand (not using good judgement, as usual) and asked why not remove the lung cancer to stop the hypercalcemia. With great disdain, the chairman of medicine, who didn’t like surgeons anyway and knew I wanted to be one, said that the tumor was incurable so why put the man through the pain ?

    Sounds to me like a decision the patient should make. IIRC, hypercalcemia is no picnic on its own.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  48. EW1 – Good to see you back here! Hope all is well.

    JD (46cf2b)

  49. AD – I vote coward.

    JD (4217af)

  50. EW1, did you have autologous islet cell transplant ? That is the way to avoid insulin although it doesn’t always work.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  51. #49 JD: Good to see you too…lurking a lot these days, busy with work and a new toy.

    #51 Mike K: No, I didn’t. Even though I suffered RAP for about seven years, the damage was pretty well localized to the head of the pancreas. I continued to have acute pancreatitis, apparently due to microlithiasis for about three years following a choley. And, the surgeon I had at JHU is pretty darn good…but you probably figured that out already; I had a fairly short course of pancrease post surgery (and a long course presurgically) but never required insulin except in ICU during recovery. Two years ago March.

    EW1(SG) (edc268)

  52. EW – Nice ride. Drive shafts are for girls 😉

    JD (9f4ff6)

  53. Bill Dana? That was Louis Nye.

    Ah, my bad – I had confused the two. I also remember Don Knott’s nervous guy character and Tom Poston’s amiable doofus.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  54. It was a great show, with a high level of original humor. How can anyone forget Louis Nye playing rocks?

    AD - RtR/OS! (eb7d4e)

  55. EW1, you may not feel lucky but you are. I was in an hour-long conference call getting an insurance company to OK an islet cell transplant for a 15-year-old who needed a total pancreatectomy for chronic pancreatitis. That was last week. Most of the chronic pancreatitis cases I see involve the entire pancreas. Fortunately, few are 15 years old.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  56. Comment by Steverino (who feels a really good curmudgeon could be of any age) — 7/13/2009 @ 10:35 am
    Steverino, first of all, accept my condolences for your loss. What that commenter said was wrong and unfair. I pointed that out then. As for whether you are a liar, you know yourself better. You should know the answer to that. Now tell me, am I a coward?

    The Emperor (32098b)

  57. Steverino, first of all, accept my condolences for your loss. What that commenter said was wrong and unfair. I pointed that out then. As for whether you are a liar, you know yourself better. You should know the answer to that. Now tell me, am I a coward?

    This has nothing to do with the death of my wife, and everything to do with your insulting, demeaning, and cowardly behavior here.

    You called me a liar, and I asked you to provide proof. You have refused to do so, and you have refused to apologize for it. In fact, up until this very moment, you have ignored my demand for proof. Even now, you completely sidestep the question. In my book, that’s cowardly.

    You don’t call someone a liar in public unless you’re prepared to back up your charge. You don’t insult someone’s integrity like that. And if you’re mistaken, you apologize and admit your error. Anything short of that is craven cowardice.

    Now, for the last time, apologize for calling me a liar, or remain a coward in the eyes of the regulars here.

    Steverino (1b3695)

  58. Now, for the last time, apologize for calling me a liar, or remain a coward in the eyes of the regulars here.

    Comment by Steverino — 7/13/2009 @ 7:10 pm
    I have a better idea. I am a coward. You are a liar. Now let’s move on, shall we?

    The Emperor (32098b)

  59. I have a better idea. I am a coward. You are a liar. Now let’s move on, shall we?

    You’re half right: you are certainly a coward, and you’ve proven so by your own actions. But thank you for proving to everyone here that you are also dishonest and you make claims with absolutely no evidence to back them up.

    In another era, I’d have already thrown my glove down at you, secure in the knowledge that you don’t have the courage to back up your own words.

    Since you’ve offered no proof of your claim, it is YOU that is the liar here, and you will remain a liar until you start backing up your ridiculous claims with cold, hard facts.

    So, it turns out that you are both a coward and a liar. How does it feel to be such a sniveling worm?

    Steverino (1b3695)

  60. So, it turns out that you are both a coward and a liar. How does it feel to be such a sniveling worm?

    Comment by Steverino — 7/13/2009 @ 7:40 pm
    Okay Stevie, I am a liar and a coward. And also a “sniveling worm”. Happy now? Now, can we move on?

    The Emperor (48e3a0)

  61. Steverino, can you email me at njkritAThotmailDOTcom?

    nk (ca8012)

  62. Steverino, this is just a game you are being drawn into. It reminds me of the “Windshield Principle.” You know the situation: folks can talk all extra tough behind a windshield because it is magical.

    Ditto the internet, only more so. Many folks write things that I do not believe they would ever say face-to-face.

    I appreciate how you are trying to stay honest and above board. Just don’t let game-players annoy you into playing their game.

    You are a quality guy who reveals a lot about himself with your posts. Game players, not so much. Even so, maybe they will with time.

    Eric Blair (acade1)

  63. The mixture between fantasy and reality on the internet can be frustrating. However, it does keep you humble and reality based. The fantasy types have got to be really sad deep down.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  64. Eric, I know Emperor is a waste of oxygen. But I wanted to push the little twerp as far as I could. Now that I have THIS gem to post after anything he says, it’ll be fun:

    I am a liar and a coward. And also a “sniveling worm”. Happy now? Now, can we move on?

    Comment by The Emperor — 7/13/2009 @ 8:02 pm

    Steverino (1b3695)

  65. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/arts_and_culture/8149166.stm

    With Obama care this would be mandatory at age 65.

    HeavenSent (641cde)

  66. Some of the folks predisposed to pancreatic cancer are:
    (1) People older than sixty. It comes with age.
    (2) Males. Guys are more prone to have this than women.
    (3) African American. Ethnicity has a role to play. Blacks are more susceptible than whites.
    (4) Smokers. Addictive smoking increases the risk of this sickness.
    (5) People who take diets low in fruits and vegetables. Also diets high in red meat.
    (6) Obesity. People struggling with obesity.
    (7) Diabetics. (Hope I am not scaring someone.)
    (8) People with a family history of pancreatic cancer. 5-10 percent of patients have a family history of the disease.
    (9) Alcoholics. Excessive intake of alcoholic beverages is a cause of chronic pancreatitis which sometimes leads to pancreatic cancer. (Cheers!)

    The Emperor (1b037c)


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