Steve Jobs Dies from Curable Disease. Why?

Steve Jobs Dies From a Curable Disease. Why!

He elected to try Alternative – Complimentary – Integrated Treatment instead of clinically tested and proven chemotherapy and surgery.

Steve Jobs was one of the most creative technologists of the last two centuries. He took the concept of the home and laptop computers, cells phones, I pods, and I pads to a whole new level. He will be missed and remembered.

He was just 56 when he died, a young man. The death certificate says he died of respiratory arrest resulting from pancreatic cancer that had spread to other organs.

He was first diagnosed in Oct. 2003 but did not undergo medical and surgical treatment until July 2004, nine months later. This was strange because he had a neuroendocrine tumor (Islet cell pancreatic cancer) with only a 5% mortality rate when treated immediately and properly. The mortality rate for the adenocarcinoma type of pancreatic cancer is 95%. At first Jobs was told he had the adenocarcinoma type but a biopsy indicated he had the less deadly type, neuroendocrine cancer. Ten percent of patients with neuroendocrine tumors have no symptoms and 30% are not even considered cancer, but all tumors need immediate removal so they do not grow or spread and effect the functioning of other organs.

The surgical procedure required is an enucleationjust of the tumor along with surrounding tissue if necessary. It has an excellent recovery rate and usually no complications. The Whipple procedure, which Jobs finally had done, is for advanced cases that have not been treated. He had that surgery nine months after the original diagnosis. He also had a liver transplant. Steve Jobs, by all rights should still be with us making new discoveries and breakthroughs at Apple. So what went wrong? Was he just unlucky? Did he get bad advice? Did he ignore good advice?

What follows is background information of the events following Jobs’ initial diagnosis.

Jobs had a good friend by the name of Dean Ornish. Ornish is a medical doctor, President and Founder of the nonprofit Preventive Medicine Research Institute. He is Clinical Professor of medicine at University of California. He graduated from Baylor University School of Medicine and took his Internship at Mass. General Hospital. His medical specialty was coronary artery disease. He devoted his practice and whole life to Holistic medicine and integrated health care.

In 1990 he came to prominence with his study and resulting paper on the reversal of atheroscerosis and arteriostenosis. The study was a controlled trial, Lifestyle Heart Trial.  He recommended a holistic approach to all medical treatments including Cancer. Dr. Ornish believed cancer was more curable by this approach, which included a low fat vegan diet, yoga, meditation, cessation of smoking, and regular exercise. Dr. Ornish treated Bill Clinton by prescribing a vegan diet with just a little meat and fish oil.

Steve Jobs did not have surgery until nine months later at the Stanford Medical Clinic. By that time the tumor had metastasized and spread to other body organs. Why was surgery delayed?

Jobs, no doubt, was impressed by Dr. Ornish’s success in treating prostate cancer. Dr. Ornish prescribed eating vegetables, fruit, tomatoes, and soy to reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Ornish believed meat and eggs increased the risk of cancer. Ornish’s study started with 98 men. Cancer markers and PSA were up in control group and down in vegan group. The immune system of vegans was strong but in the control group it was weak. Ornish claimed that a vegan diet reduced heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity, hypertension, constipation, diverticulitis, and appendicitis.

What role, if any, did Dr. Ornish play in Jobs’s decision to go with an alternative/complimentary treatment instead of traditional treatment no one knows. But, in as much as Jobs and Ornish were close friends, they must have discussed the different treatment approaches to this disease. Jobs biographer, Walter Isaacson, writes that Jobs studied all the literature especially holistic and alternative medicine treatments. There is no doubt he was well aware of his friend’s beliefs concerning cancer and nutrition.

Isaacson writes that Jobs intractability may have played a role in his “going it alone” in the face of traditional advice and treatment. Jobs had a phobia against surgery. Jobs rejected the advice of spouse, family, friends and colleagues. Jobs was iconoclastic in decision-making, and headstrong once a decision was made.

Isaacson says, on his deathbed Jobs confessed that he regretted his decision not to have chemo and surgery. He said, “ I didn’t want to have my body opened.” “ I didn’t want it to be violated in any way.”

Ramzi Amri, M.D. expert in neuroendocrine tumors said Jobs’ cancer was mild, easy to treat, survivable, and not metastasized. It should have been treated early with chemotherapy and surgery.

Jobs personal and religious beliefs are not well known. In his youth he did travel to India to study Buddhism. He apparently searched out several spiritualists and studied with them. It was said he had a “magical thinking”. Jobs stopped attending church at thirteen after seeing starving children in Biafra on a cover of Life magazine. He asked his minister if God knew everything. The minister replied, yes, God knows everything. Jobs pulled out the cover of LIFE magazine showing starving children and asked, if God knows everything then he knows what’s going to happen to those starving children. His minister’s reply was not recorded. Jobs never went back to church after that. He was buried in a non-denominational cemetery. He never professed any religious preference, and never talked or wrote about the role, if any, God played in his life. Jobs openly admitted, “Taking LSD was one of the most important things in my life.” It sounds to me he was too full of his own interests to have time for spiritualism and supernatural beliefs. In my opinion, he was an at best, agnostic concerning belief in a deity.

After his diagnosis, Jobs traveled to Switzerland to investigate PPRT, Peptide Receptor Radioneucleide Therapy, which is supposed to shrink tumors. He probably took the treatment, which did no good.

Jobs was skeptical of traditional medicine and was influenced by health gurus’ criticism of it. He tried all the Alternative – Complimentary – Integrated Medicine cures. It is said he tried meditation, special diets, herbal medicine, vitamins, positive thinking, love thinking, counting blessings thinking, acupuncture, massage, enemas, bowel cleansings, massage, juice fasts, etc.

In a commencement ceremony when addressing students he said, “Everyday I look in the mirror and ask: If today were my last day would I want to do what I am about to do today? If I had to answer that question too many days in a row by NO, I know something needs to be changed. Remembering I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make big choices in life. Almost everything, expectations, pride, embarrassment and failure fall away in the face of death leaving only what’s truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Jobs continues, “About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a tumor on my Pancreas. I didn’t even know what my pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly the type of cancer that was incurable and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order which is a doctor’s code for, prepare to die. I prepared, but the next day they got a biopsy, the doctors started crying because it turned out I had a rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now. This was the closest I’ve been to facing death and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. Death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because death is very likely the single best invention of life. It is life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Your time is limited. Don’t be controlled by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other people’s thinking drown out your own inner voice. And, most important, have the courage to follow your heart and your intuition.” Unfortunately, Jobs followed his heart, rejected traditional medicine, and rejected other people’s thinking when it came to his health. His strong character did him in.

Jobs’ last wish for the youth was to “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” His legacy will be his advice to our youth to innovate, don’t give in to the nay-sayers, believe in yourselves. We, his admirers, now know, good advice must be tempered with reason.


About cgosling

I am a retired medical/scientific illustrator and creator of patient teaching simulators, who has given up illustration to write about science, superstition, and secular humanism. I consider myself all of the following: atheist, agnostic, secular humanist, freethinker, skeptic, and nature lover. I have several published books but the mass of my writing is unpublished. I write children's fiction, poetry, essays, and several plays and radio theater shows, that are available as free downloads to be used on secular podcasts and meetings. They can be heard on Indy Freethought Radio or on YouTube “secularradiotheater”. I hope some of my writings will be of interest to like minded freethinkers who I cordially invite to respond. I am also a Darwin impersonator. I invite readers to listen to and use the Darwin script for secular purposes.
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