An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 22, 2011 07:50AM


Corboy Note: I myself have never had surgery. I value my lucidity and autonomy and have never been put under general anesthesia. I can sympathize with someone who would put an emphasis on staying awake and alert and surgically untouched.

But this story shows us how even a brilliant and highly educated person, a culture maker and innovator lost opportunities for early treatment of a relatively treatable form of pancreatic cancer.

Friends, if you love life and want more of it, there are times when you may have to give up your autonomy temporarily so you can have it returned to you and for a longer lease on life.

Oct. 20, 2011
Steve Jobs, the visionary Apple co-founder who died earlier this month at 56, admitted to biographer Walter Isaacson that for nine months he refused to undergo surgery for his pancreatic cancer -- a decision he later regretted as his health declined.

In advance of the Monday release of his book, "Steve Jobs: A Biography," Isaacson told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" that Jobs said he initially felt the surgery would be too invasive.

"I've asked [Jobs why he didn't get an operation earlier] and he said, 'I didn't want my body to be opened...I didn't want to be violated in that way,'" Isaacson says in an interview excerpt posted today on the CBS News website.

David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty ImagesSteve Jobs, chief executive officer of Apple... View Full Size David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty ImagesSteve Jobs, chief executive officer of Apple Inc., unveils the iCloud storage system at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011, San Francisco, California, June 6, 2011.
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How could Jobs have made such a decision?

"I think that he kind of felt that if you ignore something, if you don't want something to exist, you can have magical thinking...we talked about this a lot," Isaacson told CBS News. "He wanted to talk about it, how he regretted it....I think he felt he should have been operated on sooner."

Jobs, fascinated by Eastern mysticism in his youth, believed in alternative herbal treatments, and sources have told ABC News in the past that they thought he minimized the seriousness of his condition. One source close to Jobs said he kept his medical problems private, even from members of Apple's board of directors -- who finally had to persuade him his health was of critical importance to Apple's success and the value of its stock to shareholders.

Ramzi Amri, a researcher in surgical oncology at Harvard Medical School, wrote a controversial piece last week about Jobs' aversion to mainstream medicine, and argued that Jobs may have hastened his own death.

"I respect the privacy of, and in no way wish to offend, anyone mourning his passing," he wrote. But Jobs had a rare neuroendocrine tumor that was far easier for Western medicine to treat than "ordinary" pancreatic cancer, said Amri. He instead sought alternative treatments.

"This was, of course, a freedom he had all the rights to take," said Amri, "but given the circumstances it seems sound to assume that Mr. Jobs' choice for alternative medicine could have led to an unnecessarily early death."

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: The Anticult ()
Date: October 22, 2011 10:06AM

And virtually every single sect researched on these threads says the exact same thing.
To avoid science-based medicine, and instead go on a fruit colon cleanse detox, or something.
Then the delay might end up killing you.

Of course to be fair, immediate medical treatment might help, or it might not.

But every single sect researched on these forums, is against science based medicine as a first resort.
How many people have died from the delay in medical care?

No one knows, as no one is going to keep that statistic. But incredible numbers of people suffer extreme harm and death from these sects and cults, telling them to delay medical treatment based on science, and to instead do a grapefruit cleanse starvation diet, or whatever.

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 22, 2011 10:04PM

Even when people are not in any sect or group, most of us want our adult autonomy and dread handing it over to health care professionals and hospitals.

And people who most value autonomy are often the most reluctant to hand over their autonomy, even temporarily, to a professional health care team.

Here is a tragic situation--a young woman who had a change of consciousness episode. She lived most of her life in what sociologists term 'cultic milieu'. Decades after her first episode, she turned out to be seriously ill and kept seeking help from alternative therapists. It was one of them who, horrified at her condition, insisted that she go to a hospital for professional care. She died young.


My father had Type II diabetes and did not want to go on insulin. My mother spat with fury telling me how Dad was told by some nutter at the local health food store that white sugar was bad for diabetes but that diabetics could have honey. Mom was the one who was stuck with the consquences of that peace of shit information given to Dad at the health food store.

A second cousin of mine, brilliant and stubborn as a mule, was diagnosed with cancer. He lived blocks away from a university that specialized in treating the type of cancer he was diagnosed with. His sister in law worked for a drug company and she possessed information about clinical drug trials.

Did this man take advantage of any of this? No. He delayed treatment, following the same trajectory that Mr Jobs did. And like Mr Jobs, Steven ignored pleas from his family. He went for alternative treatments.

By the time this man decided to try Western medicine, he had lost valuable time.

And this isnt to say one cannot use alternative treatments. There are top notch alternative practitioners who work collaboratively with Western trained practitioners.

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 22, 2011 10:24PM

Its just tough.

The very thing that enabled Mr Jobs to be as creative as he was--trust his own instincts, try approaches that are outside of cultural norms--may have made it difficult for him to stay within the cultural norm of trusting scientifically tested evidence based medicine.

And to stay within a cultural norm of trusting this type of medical care at the very moment when the threat of death was staring him in the face.

In such circumstances, when facing death that triggers brave and venturesome people to seek yet more autonomy. Handing that autonomy over to the conventional health care system would be especially difficult for someone who has been so successful an explorer and innovator.

I once had a button in my collection that read, 'Its not death I fear, its hospitals.' Someone brave and venturesome, craving new frontiers--a hospital would feel like jail.

Alternative treatments would promise adventure, even if all ones friends and family are insisting otherwise.

That's how people get persuaded--its the promise of autonomy and framing conventional, scientifically tested, evidence based medical care as being entrapment.

That may be how Mr Jobs could on the one hand, pay 100 grand to have the DNA sequence of his tumor tested--turn to evidence based science in this intance---in this case, knowledge equalled mastery.

But to entrust himself to evidence based scientific medicine by placing himself in the care of a top specialist team expert in treating pancreatic cancers--that must have felt like surrendering his autonomy and conceding someone knew more than he did.

Anything to preserve someone's sense of personal autonomy and mastery.

Thats how even the most powerful and brilliant people on this planet can become not empowered but more vulnerable, more influence-able.

And I say this as one who dreads living long enough to become old and to need to wear Depends and have someone else wipe my ass.

Giving up autonomy after one has enjoyed it, possessed it, revelled in it--there is no way to make it an easy renunciation.

One guy with Parkinson's Disease, who has a heavy shaking tremor, told me, 'My body amuses me." And he seemed to mean it.

May all of us find ways to reach that kind of perspective.

Corboy's Warning:

Anyone who presumes to use information here and elsewhere on this message board and website to exploit others--you will turn into a monster and exist a hell of your own creation, long before you stop breathing.

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 22, 2011 10:27PM

Okay, to sum it up...getting conventional medical treatment as a first resort, may or may not save your life.

But at least your family and friends will be spared the pain of wondering "What if he or she had not delayed getting science based medical care?"

"What if?"

"What if?"

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: October 23, 2011 05:54AM

While there are likely many, many people who decide to forego conventional medical treatment for serious diseases and instead turn to “woo”, there still is little to suggest that Steve Jobs hastened his demise by “turning to alternatives” for nine months. Both sides of the treatment aisle are enjoying the spotlight, with alties exclaiming that chemo killed Jobs and mainstream pointing the finger at “woo” (Dr Ramzi Amri, for one). Dr. Amri is jumping on the speculation bandwagon and using Steve Jobs' seemingly to make the rounds in the media. After stating outright in his own blog ( (Why Did Steve Jobs choose not to effectively treat his cancer) that he knew nothing about Jobs’ specific case, he goes on to speculate and jump to many, many conclusions, while using “mainstream media” and other vague, unnamed entities as his sources, much like this:

Amri says this about Jobs, “Jobs was a hippie back in the day, and a conventional medicine skeptic now. His reaction to the disease gave the disease time to spread. “ That is quite a leap.

The latest “news” is from Jobs’ biographer, who would like to sell as many books as possible. It will be interesting to read the book instead of just the sensational headlines being used to sell the book to see exactly what Jobs did or did not do, because at this point, most reports are speculation. Jobs, it is reported, was “into” Chinese medicine, herbs, vegetarianism, etc. since his youth and somehow this has morphed into reports that Jobs decided to use these instead. It is clear from most reports that Jobs sought regular medical care even though he might have been utilizing acupuncture and herbs. That a “routine CT scan” was ordered during a physical examination speaks to the fact that he also utilized the services of physicians. It is highly unusual to have a “routine” CT scan during a physical exam so it is likely that he was seeking medical attention for symptoms which might or might not have been related to his yet-to-be diagnosed cancer.

Amri goes on with this, again not knowing the details of this specific patient. ‘ While Mr. Jobs was trying all sorts of alternative mumbo-jumbo I won't even bother to go through as their failure is now sadly irrefutably proven, his tumor grew, and grew, and grew...

… and then it somehow grew beyond control.

•Jobs waited so long before seeking normal treatment that he had to undergo a Whipple procedure, losing his pancreas and whole duodenum in 2004. This was the first alarming sign that his disease had progressed beyond a compact primary to at least a tumor so large his Pancreas and duodenum could not be saved.”

A pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure) is a curative procedure, not one that is used when cancer has progressed. (Per his own disclaimer Amri has no knowledge about the growth of Jobs’ disease). Taking part of the duodenum IS part of a Whipple procedure but Amri implies that the tumor had spread and therefore the duodenum and pancreas “could not be saved.” That doctors offered a Whipple after Jobs’ waited indicates that THEY did not believe the cancer had spread. However, Jobs’ cancer is EXTREMELY rare and there is not a lot of solid research on it, specifically due to the fact that there are simply not many patients to study. It is a very slow-growing tumor, usually, but it is far from the mild, nondeadly type of cancer that Amri describes. And, depending on the type of neuroendocrine tumor Jobs had, chemo and radiation therapy may very well not have been part of the treatment protocol and it is likely that these treatments were not offered, not that Jobs refused them.

"People live with these cancers for far longer than nine months before they're even diagnosed," so it's not known how quickly one can prove fatal, said Dr. Len Lichtenfeld, deputy chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

Dr. Michael Pishvaian, a pancreatic cancer expert at Georgetown University's Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center, said people often are in denial after a cancer diagnosis, and some take a long time to accept recommended treatments. "We've had many patients who have had bad outcomes when they have delayed treatment. Nine months is certainly a significant period of time to delay," he said.

It is important to note that Jobs did not have pancreatic cancer. He had a type of neuroendocrine cancer that was IN the pancreas but NOT of the pancreas.

Dr Amri’s blog is an unfair “blame the victim” screed, which is exactly what one finds in the alternative medicine field (I know first hand about this).

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: corboy ()
Date: October 23, 2011 08:10AM

Hope, thanks for this.

I didnt realize the significant difference between neuroendocrine cancers and the other pancreatic malignancies.

I hope that someone can interview some pathologists, especially top notch ones at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology. Knowing the cell type of a tumor is of the utmost importance--this information determines everything from which drugs if any are best, which surgical procedure is the treatment of choice (or none) and whether radiation therapy is called for.

Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: Hope ()
Date: October 23, 2011 09:50AM

This should be the headlining story about Steve Jobs' cancer.


Re: An Intelligent Man Who Waited 9 Months Too Long--Steve Jobs
Posted by: Vera City ()
Date: October 25, 2011 03:07AM

One can only speculate. People die from medical treatments and live with alternatives as well.
I almost lost a close relative, not from cancer, but from the chemo that damaged her heart and also gave her a near fatal pulmonary embolism, and later cardiac problems. I have seen others recover from unconventional therapies as well. Would I do that? I would look at both, but I have a doctor and cancer researcher in the family.

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